The Nigerian Air Force has commenced the airlift of COVID-19 medical relief materials donated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to countries in the sub-region.

The service chief said that airlift is been carried out in support of donor partners like Team Europe, the German Government, United Nations Development Programme & Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The relief materials which will be distributed to the 14-member nations of ECOWAS, are in response to the spread of the second wave of COVID-19.

Flagging off the airlift of the relief materials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the leader of the ECOWAS Delegation and Vice President of ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma, said the need for essential medical supplies became necessary to enable ECOWAS countries cope with increasing cases of infection as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to increase especially in West Africa.

She noted that the first ECOWAS support to member states that critically needed medical supplies was in August 2020 and the efforts went a long way in ameliorating the shortages experienced in some vital materials required to curb the spread of the pandemic.

She expressed gratitude to the Government of Nigeria and the ECOWAS COVID-19 champion, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the logistics support to ECOWAS in the airlift of the relief materials.

Ms Koroma further noted with thanks the willingness of the NAF to always be on hand to provide airlift support whenever called upon and specifically thanked the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, for the express approval given for the NAF C-130 aircraft to undertake the mission of distributing the items to ECOWAS countries in dire need.

Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet who signed the statement noted that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao said the NAF considered the airlifting of the items a great privilege and worthy contribution to a noble cause.

While assuring the ECOWAS Commission of NAF’s commitment towards the success of the operation, he reiterated NAF’s readiness to always fulfill its constitutional role of ‘Military Assistance to Civil Authority’ whenever called upon.

Represented by the Director of Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ayoola Jolasinmi, the CAS said the about 4,000kg relief materials, which included laboratory diagnostic kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), intensive care equipment as well as miscellaneous medical accessories will be airlifted by a 7 – man C-130 aircraft crew.

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