Towards preparing for any escalation of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Nigerian military on Friday that it has already designated 17 of its hospitals for the isolation and treatment of confirmed cases of the virus.
In addition, four stadia and all the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camps in the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been set aside as possible isolation centres, if the need arises.
The military is also to recall its all retired medical personnel to complement those in the active service for a mass mobilization against the virus.
Coordinator of Defence Media Operations (CDMO), Major General John Enenche, said in Abuja that apart from medical preparations, the military has activated its Disaster Response Units to manage security situations in any part of the country as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Geenral Enenche, “Sequel to the ongoing fight against the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019 by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have put measures in place to aid the civil authorities. As you may be aware, Section 217 (2) c of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), empowers the military to act in aid of civil authority. Consequently, a committee was constituted at the Defence Headquarters to ensure that the Armed forces provide the necessary support to the Federal Government of Nigeria, at this period. It is mainly a non-kinetic military operation with major features of civil-military cooperation activities. Equally, it is in line with the Chief of Defence Staff’s lines of conducting contemporary military operations in Nigeria.
“In this regard, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has developed a two-pronged approach to fight the pandemic, namely; the medical and security approaches. The medical approach is the deployment of military personnel in aid of all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government through the provision of land, maritime and air assets, for transportation of emergency cases and medical supplies, as was the case with the medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.
“Furthermore, under the medical aid, we have 17 medical facilities spread across the country, which have been designated for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases of the COVID-19. We have also concluded plans to recall our retired medical personnel to complement those in active service.”
On the use of the four stadia and NYSC camps, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, said on Friday via Twitter: “Mr. President has approved for the Ministry of Youth and Sports to open and make available the stadiums in Surulere Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, and Kaduna, as well as our NYSC camps nationwide for use as isolation centers as they are needed. We are in touch with relevant authorities.”
The Federal Government had on March 18 ordered the immediate closure of all NYSC orientation camps nationwide as a precaution over the spread of Coronavirus.
But Dare, on Friday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved their re-opening for them to serve as COVID-19 isolation centres.