No fewer than 100 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) benefited from a free medical outreach offered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the free treatment was part of activities by the force to end the African Partnership Flight (APF) which started from Aug. 14 to Aug. 18.
The event took place at the Sam Ethnan Airforce Base, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, who spoke at the closing ceremony, said the APF was designed to build strong partnerships to foster regional stability and security.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Yahaya, said the exercise was also to foster security through formal alliances, partnerships and exchange of ideas among African air forces.
“I strongly believe that the specific objectives of this five-day event which culminated in a free medical outreach to about 100 IDPs have been largely achieved.
“I hope you will utilise the knowledge acquired to enhance the present effort at providing appropriate medical care in and outside the theatre of operation in the sub-region, particularly to counter insurgency operation in Lake Chad region and North Eastern Nigeria.
“I particularly wish to express my gratitude to the United States Air Forces Europe Command for selecting Nigeria to co-host this event and to our sister African countries for coming here to share their experiences,’’ he said.
The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, who was Special Guest of Honour, said that the motivation of the programme was aimed at capacity building and mutual cooperation.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Amb. Danjuma Sheni, he said the success in overcoming various security challenges confronting African countries depended on joint operations with neighbouring and allied countries.
“This is more so as the enemy in today’s wars appear to be largely the same, terrorism, and its range of operation cuts across boundaries of nations.
“Immediate examples are the Boko Haram and Al-Shabbab insurgencies in the North East Nigeria and East Africa, respectively.
“As sister and allied nations, we must therefore begin to evolve ways of thinking and training together, developing common doctrines and harnessing human and material resources to achieve set objectives,’’ he said.
According to him, training programmes like this are one of the ways to enhance interoperability.
“I am pleased that some participants from the Lake Chad basin countries which constitute the multinational joint task force that was created to confront the challenges of Boko Haram insurgents took part in this programme.
“I believe your participation will augur well for the success of our operation against the Boko Haram insurgents,’’ he said.
Mr Muhammadu Audu, one of the beneficiaries, expressed appreciation to the force for the gesture.
Also, Mr Abdulazeez Aliyu, another beneficiary, told NAN that he was happy for the gesture and prayed that the force would continue to succeed in its constitutional roles.
NAN also reports that Chad, Niger and Benin Republic participated in the US-backed APF – a multilateral military-to-military engagement designed to
boost African cooperation in aviation.
The medical outreach was used to render free medical check-ups and consultations, laboratory investigations, malaria and blood sugar tests and the provision of drugs.
Also, there were free blood pressure checks, eye examinations, as well as issuance of free eye glasses and free food to the IDPs.
NAF personnel gave health talks on topical issues relating to HIV/AIDS, malaria, the environment, personal and oral hygiene.
The medical team also distributed treated mosquito nets to the IDPs. (NAN)