The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced the airlift thousands of medical materials and other consumables procured by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) for distribution to 14-member nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria inclusive, to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the ECOWAS COVID-19 Response Coordination “Champion,” had earlier promised that Nigeria would provide logistics support to ensure the medical supplies are distributed to all countries in the Sub-Region.
The 13 other ECOWAS countries that would be receiving the supplies from the Nigerian Air Force airlift capabilities 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.
The medical materials, which 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.
The flag off of the airlift of the medical materials took place at the 307 Executive Airlift Group (307 EAG), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, stated 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.