By Yahaya Isah
A combined military training organised by the United States Air Force (USAF) Command in Europe in partnership with the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) has opened in Lagos.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said in Abuja on Monday that the week-long programme with the theme: “Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Deployment”, is started on Monday at the Sam Ethnan Air Force Base, Ikeja.
He said the programme would bring together countries in Africa to simulate a combined security and humanitarian environment.
Declaring the programme open, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode said the combined training was a welcome development.
Ambode said it was an indication that the Nigerian Armed Forces, as represented by NAF, were committed to regional peace and stability through combined training.
“I would therefore, like to specially commend the USAF and NAF for organising this programme, which is ultimately aimed at building our capacity to jointly tackle the menace of insurgency within and outside our borders.
“It is no news that NAF is one of the leading organisations that have impacted positively on the lives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East.
“In addition to the outstanding performance in their traditional role of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said that the programme could not have come at a more appropriate time than now, considering the great need for proper medical care in and outside the theatre of operations.
According to him, NAF was not unmindful of the effects and aftermath of insurgency on the plight of innocent civilians, including women and children, who often are the unintended victims.
“It is for this reason that NAF has embarked on several humanitarian programmes aimed at alleviating the plight of the IDPs.
“I believe that the combined training exercise would definitely enhance mutual relationships and interoperability among the participating countries,” Abubakar said.
Other activities lined up for the one-week programme include: a static display intended to showcase the arrangement of stretchers in NAF C-130H aircraft and a medical outreach programme for IDPs within the Lagos area.
The director explained that African Partnership Flight was a multilateral, military-to-military engagement designed to enhance African regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity in the aviation sector.
He said a total of 88 participants from the Republics of Benin, Chad and Niger as well as Nigeria and the USA were participating in the workshop. (NAN)