The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to commence airlifting medical materials and other consumables procured by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) for distribution to 14 countries, including Nigeria, of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said this in a statement.
He said airlift of the medical supplies by NAF was to fulfill the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria would provide logistics support to ensure the items are distributed to all countries in the Sub-Region.
The 13 ECOWAS countries that the materials will be airlifted to are: Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cape Verde, Niger Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali and the Republic of Benin.
According to Daramola, the medical materials, which he said would be airlifted in three phases, include laboratory diagnostic kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), intensive care equipment and miscellaneous medical accessories such as coveralls, masks, face shields, goggles, reagents, viral transport medium, ventilators and oxygen concentrators, amongst others.
He said the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said at the flag off of the airlifts at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, that President Buhari had risen to the occasion as a “true Champion who has demonstrated good leadership, solidarity, friendship and good neighbourliness to the Sub-Region.”
” He noted that the NAF had remained the backbone of the logistics operations of the PTF’s response in tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic in the country. He therefore commended the pilots and entire crew of the 2 NAF C-130H aircraft that would be handling the airlift/distribution exercise for their dedication and professionalism.”
Daramola said the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gwani, said the NAF considered the airlifts of the materials as a “previlege and worthy contribution to a noble cause.”
“He therefore pledged the commitment of the Service to a successful operation,” he said.