The Nigerian Air Force has established the office of the Odbusman which will enable those outside the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), have the opportunity to channel their complaints and grievances against the Service or its personnel.
In a statement released by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet on 13 August, 2021, the Office which is also tasked with addressing complains by NAF personnel, will serve as an independent instrument that will provide an objective and compassionate channel for seeking redress.
In approving the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, took cognizance of the need to provide an avenue for those outside the Service as well as NAF serving personnel to express their grievances against the Service for immediate resolution. This is because the CAS strongly believes that putting in place appropriate mechanisms for redress would ensure harmonious relationship and substantially reduce chances of disaffection, improve trust and confidence with the civil populace.
Such mechanism is also aimed at increasing motivation and promoting personnel loyalty among NAF serving personnel. It should also be added that since the establishment of the NAF, its personnel have relied mostly on the provisions of the Executive Regulations in channeling their complaints for redress while in some cases, complaints were referred first to immediate superiors even when such complaints are against such superior officers.
Also, many persons outside the Service have over time found it difficult to channel their complaints and grievances to the Service due to absence of a distinct channel.The new Office of the Ombudsman, thus, provides an avenue to address these issues.
Recall that in July 2021, Air Marshal Amao approved the establishment of the Directorate of Veteran Affairs in a bid to stimulate better welfare packages for NAF veterans and their families. The Directorate is, among other responsibilities, charged with interfacing with similar structures in sister Services towards harnessing necessary benefits for NAF retirees under existing Federal Government programmes for veterans.
These efforts which are in tandem with Air Marshal Amao’s vision, ‘To enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives,’ are ultimately aimed at restructuring and reorganizing the NAF for better service delivery.