NAF’s Director of Operations, AVM Ayoola Jolasinmi, representing the CAS, with Her Excellency, Finda Koroma, leader of the ECOWAS delegation
The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has commenced airlifting some COVID-19 medical relief materials donated by the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who stated this in a press release today, disclosed that ECOWAS had made the materials available with the support of donor partners who include Team Europe, the German Government, United Nations Development Programme and Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ.
According to Gabkwet, the relief materials received are in response to the spread of the second wave of COVID-19, and will be distributed to the 14-member nations of ECOWAS, including Nigeria.
Flagging off the airlift of the relief materials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, yesterday, 30 March, the leader of the ECOWAS Delegation and Vice President of ECOWAS Commission, Her Excellency Finda Koroma, stated that the need for essential medical supplies had become necessary to enable ECOWAS countries cope with increasing cases of infections as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to increase especially in West Africa.
Koroma noted that the first ECOWAS support which was to member states critically in need of medical supplies, was in August 2020, and that the efforts went a long way in ameliorating the shortages experienced in some vital materials required to curb the spread of the pandemic in those countries.
She expressed gratitude to the Government of Nigeria and the ECOWAS COVID-19 champion, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the logistics support to ECOWAS in the airlift of the relief materials, while also acknowledging with thanks, the willingness of the NAF to always be on hand to provide airlift support whenever called upon.
Ms. Koroma specifically thanked the Chief of the Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, for the express approval given for the NAF C-130 aircraft to undertake the mission of distributing the items to ECOWAS countries in dire need.
In his remarks at the flag off of the airlift, the CAS who was represented by the Director of Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ayoola Jolasinmi, stated that the NAF considered the airlifting of the items a great privilege and worthy contribution to a noble cause.
He assured the ECOWAS Commission of NAF’s commitment towards the success of the operation, while reiterating NAF’s readiness to always fulfill its constitutional role of ‘Military Assistance to Civil Authority’ whenever called upon.
The relief materials, weighing about 4,000kg which included laboratory diagnostic kits, Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs, intensive care equipment as well as miscellaneous medical accessories, will be airlifted by a 7 – man C-130 aircraft crew.
The CAS reiterataed NAF’s history of providing aid in the form of airlift to civil authorities, recalling that in March 2020, it airlifted medical materials donated by the Jack Ma Foundation, consisting of 107 boxes of medical supplies and equipment weighing over 1,360kg.
Similarly, in April 2020, the NAF airlifted medical equipment and supplies donated by the Turkish Government from Lagos to Abuja.
The medical items weighing about 4,000 Kg, were airlifted by a NAF C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Central Storage Facility in Abuja, on behalf of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The same period also witnessed the NAF airlifting a team of stranded Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC health officials from Congo Brazzaville, where they had travelled for a World Health Organization training programme on the management of COVID-19.
These efforts, the CAS said, were beside the numerous in-country flights organised for officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and other officials for ease of movement in the conduct of their responsibilities.