The Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, Monday announced in Maiduguri that ventilators locally fabricated by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) scientists are now ready for the treatment of COVID-19 and other respiratory-related diseases.
Mr Abubakar, an air marshal, said the ventilators were jointly fabricated by the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and NAF.
He made this announcement while hosting a Sallah luncheon for frontline troops of the NAF at the headquarters of Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri.
He also said, “whilst sustaining the fight against the seen enemy, NAF personnel must also maintain vigilance and ensure strict adherence to the guidelines and protocols to overcome COVID-19, which is the invisible enemy of humanity.”
He said NAF had distributed reusable face masks to all staff as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and ventilators to the NAF Hospital in Maiduguri.
“The NAF engineers, in collaboration with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, had equally developed locally-produced emergency ventilators that had been tested and made ready for use, which would be unveiled during the week,” he added.
He said the locally fabricated ventilators are meant to “complement government’s effort in the fight against COVID-19.”
“The NAF, despite the challenges of competing demands for resources and the COVID-19 induced lockdown had through pragmatic logistics planning and foresight, maintained the tempo of its operations, not only in the North-east, but also in other parts of the country.”
He stressed the need for robust synergy among security agencies “to consolidate on the gains recorded in the fight against insurgency and other criminal activities in the country”.
He also said “the contributions of Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole has shaped the war against insurgency in the North-east and provided freedom of action for the ground troops.”
He said “working in synergy with sister services and other security agencies, (we) would continue to evolve new methods and emplace new strategies aimed at eliminating all forms of criminal elements in the country.”
“We have kept the pace in training of both air and ground crews, developed the regiment specialty to defend our bases and increased the force structure of the service, whilst building more accommodation and office infrastructure to cope with the growth.
“Our units are flying the NAF flags across the country. The latest of these is in Lafia, where the 22 Quick Response Wing was recently activated with the injection of additional Special Forces (SF) personnel.”
The air chief disclosed that a new unit would soon be established in Damaturu, “where a helipad had been constructed along with refuelling facilities”.
He revealed that to further boost the air component operations in the North-east, NAF would “very soon…get the Air Force flying in Damaturu as well.”
“We will make sure they have a refuelling facility and a force protection element in Damaturu so that our ground troops, should be able to refuel their aircraft in Damaturu and continue the fight without necessarily coming back to Maiduguri.”
On the essence of the luncheon, the air chief said, “These get-togethers foster comradeship and give us the opportunity to commend ourselves in the duty of securing our nation against criminal elements.”
Responding as a special guest of honour at the Sallah luncheon, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, commended the NAF.
He lauded NAF on its efforts “in the health and education sector of internally displaced persons in the state.”
The governor requested for further support in protecting farmers across the state during the coming farming season.
“We earnestly solicit the support of the Nigeria Air Force in terms of protection of our farmers to enable them to actively engage in this year’s farming season,” he said.