The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has initiated free medical and feeding programme for women and children displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Sadiq Abubakar, made this known on Saturday, when he inspected facilities at the NAF Emergency Medical Center, Dalori Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Maiduguri.
Mr Abubakar, who was on an operational visit to the northeast, also disclosed that the service had established two clinics in Maiduguri and Bama, to support persons affected by the conflict in the region.
He announced plans by the service to upgrade the facilities to compliment government’s effort towards enhancing quality health care service delivery.
“I intend to visit the Level-2 Clinic at Dalori IDPs camp, the hospital was established in August 2015; and our desire is to see how we can support those affected by internal security challenges in the northeast.
“Similarly; we have established a Level-2 hospital in Bama, which was intended to support IDPs in that axis. I want to indicate our commitment to support the northeast population affected by the disaster by ensuring that we provide all their medical requirements.
“We are upgrading these hospitals; we will provide laboratories, dental clinic, theatre and other facilities, so that our personnel will access the best medical services.
“We have also established a cancer screening centre in Maiduguri, the centre is not only meant for personnel and their families, but for other services and their families, as well as IDPs.
“I urge you to allow access to these facilities to IDPs, particularly women and children; you must reach out to sensitise them on the services being offered at the facilities and support them at no cost,” he said.
According to him, the service is also providing meals under its free feeding programme to displaced children at Dalori and Bama IDPs camps.
Mr Abubakar explained that the gesture was part of the non–kinetic approach to end insurgency and enhance civil-military relations.
“The idea is to win hearts and minds; in counter insurgency operations, the state of minds of the population where you are fighting is very important, you need to find a way of endearing yourself to the hearts of the IDPs.
“I think; we have substantially achieved that, they are happy with the kind of support we are giving them and that is helping us to live in peace,” he added.
The CAS also ordered for upgrade of the borehole in the camp to enhance potable water supply to the clinic and safeguard the health of IDPs.
Also, Yabawa Kolo, the Chairman, Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), lauded NAF for its medical and feeding support to IDPs in the state.
Ms Kolo noted that more than 3,000 displaced households were benefiting from medical and other services provided by the NAF at the Dalori IDPs camp.
She called on the service to provide similar interventions in resettled communities and camps in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the CAS was accompanied on the visit by Olusegun Adeniyi, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole; Bukar Wakil, the Chief of Staff, Borno Government House and other military commanders.