Uche Usim, Abuja
Henceforth, military officers and personnel are to enjoy special treatment and privileges akin to Very Important Persons (VIP) during check-in and boarding at any airport in Nigeria.
Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, who made the disclosure on Wednesday through the spokesman of the ministry, James Odaudu, has also directed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other agencies in the sector to immediately incorporate policies and activities that show appreciation of both serving and retired military personnel in Nigeria, as obtained in developed climes.
Sirika, who gave the directive when members of Defence Headquarters Committee for Sensitisation Strategy on Public Appreciation of the Armed Forces of Nigeria visited him in his office, also directed that special messages appreciating the sacrifices and achievements of the military should be included in flight announcements at intervals.
He said that the military deserved to be appreciated for their sacrifices in ensuring the security and safety of the country and its citizens, emphasising that the nation’s armed forces had done extremely well in ensuring that Nigeria remained a united and indivisible entity.
The minister stressed that Nigerians must appreciate the armed forces for their roles in the peace-keeping efforts in the West African sub-region and other parts of the world, adding that the military was one institution where the oneness of Nigeria was displayed.
“In addition, in all our parastatals, there should be banners to appreciate the military and we will also have those banners in our airports to be located in strategic places where everybody can see.
“Certainly, the Nigerian military has done tremendously not only for Nigeria but for the sub-region where we operate and for the world. In all the peacekeeping missions that the Nigerian military has gone to, they were well appreciated because they always come tops and they performed excellently well,’’ he said.
Sirika also pledged to produce stickers, with the permission of the military authorities, to appreciate the armed forces for their sacrifices to the nation.
Earlier, Air Vice Marshal Jomo Osahor, chairman of the committee, said the visit was to solicit the support of the aviation industry to sensitise the public on the need to appreciate the Nigerian armed forces.
Osahor said the committee was set up by the Chief of Defence Staff to develop strategies to sensitise the public on how members of the armed forces could be appreciated.