By Yochuku Ofoka Yobolisa, Editor in Chief
The Nigerian Air Force yesterday began the airlifting of COVID-19 medical relief materials weighing about 4,000kg to the ECOWAS countries. The items which included laboratory diagnostic kits, personal protective equipment, intensive care equipment and miscellaneous medical items donated by the ECOWAS Commission in partnership with Team Europe, the Government of Germany, UNDP, and Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, are being transported and distributed to member-states using a 7-man NAF C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Vice President of ECOWAS Commission, Her Excellency Finda Koroma led the ECOWAS delegation to flag off the airlift at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Koroma said that the medical supply was in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the sub-region.
“The need for these essential medical supplies became necessary to enable ECOWAS countries to cope with the rising cases of infection as the second wave of the pandemic continues to increase, especially, in West Africa,” she said.
Koroma noted that the efforts by the Commission to support member-states with critically-needed medical supplies have always gone a long way to ameliorate the shortages in vital materials needed to curb the spread of the virus; and thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria and the NAF authorities for always being ever-ready to provide airlift support whenever such service is needed.
At the flag-off, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Amao said that it was a great privilege for his air force to be called in to assist in the transportation and distribution of the donated items, and assured the Commission of NAF’s readiness to add to the COVID-19 eradication success story.
Represented by NAF’s director of operations, AVM Ayoola Jolasinmi, the CAS said, “The Nigerian Air Force will always be ready to fulfil its constitutional role of offering military assistance to civil authorities whenever called upon to do so.”
It should be remembered that the air force had in March 2020 airlifted 107 boxes of medical materials weighing 1,360kg donated by Jack Ma Foundation, in April of the same year airlifted the Turkish Government-donated supplies weighing about 4,000kg, and had in the same period airlifted a team of stranded NCDC health workers from Congo Brazzaville to Nigeria,