A former Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, has said Nigeria does not have to copy the American military structure totally because it has become obvious that the country cannot afford it.
He said the recent air disasters which have claimed the lives of several Nigerians – civilians, policemen and military personnel – were a reflection of the country’s poor maintenance culture.
Tsav said this in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said while the recent air crash, which claimed the lives of former Governor Patrick Yakowa and Gen. Andrew Azazi and four others was regrettable, it provided an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s priorities.
The former police chief said, “I remember when Gen. Victor Malu was the Chief of Army Staff, he said we should not copy the United States where the Army and the Navy have separate air fleets different from that of the Air Force.
“We have the Air Force, which has personnel sufficiently trained to specialise in using aircraft for operations; let the Air Force handle aircraft so that whichever service wants to use aircraft will liaise with them and the Air Force should be properly funded and their officers and men given up-to-date training to handle warfare in the air.”
Asked whether he had fears over the involvement of dignitaries in the casualties, Tsav said all lives were important in the eyes of God as such, the death of every Nigerian in such accidents was regrettable and painful.
As to what he thinks is responsible for the crashes, he said, “I think what is responsible for the crash of aircraft, especially those belonging to the Nigeria Police and the military, is our poor maintenance culture.
“In the police service for example, it takes a very long time before they send aircraft for maintenance. This has to change for us to get things right.”