The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Senator Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has flagged off the Air Logistics Support from Federal Republic of Nigeria to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)/West African Health Organization (WAHO), Tuesday, 4th July, 2020 at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Executive Airlift Base at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora did the flag off, acting on behalf of the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha at about 18.25 p.m.
While flagging off the Air Logistics Support, the Honourable Minister of State for Health, who was initially at the flag off ceremony to represent the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire paid glowing homage to President Muhammadu Buhari who he said was appointed by his peers – Presidents of ECOWAS member Countries as ECOWAS Champion of COVID-19 fight for approving that the Nigeria Air Force should avail ECOWAS and the West African Health Organization (WAHO) the logistics support to airlift COVID-19 medical equipment procured on behalf of member States of ECOWAS by WAHO for distribution to the beneficiary ECOWAS Countries.
Dr. Mamora declared that for President Muhammadu Buhari to have within so short a time, approve that NAF resources be deployed to assist in the airlift and distribution of the medical supplies of WAHO to the other West African Countries is the stuff of which a champion is made of and that “the role being played by Nigeria in the logistics support to distribute the medications and supplies is in the spirit of brotherhood.” Dr. Mamora expressed optimism that it is the same spirit of brotherhood that will see the sub-region to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in no distant time.
It may be recalled that WAHO on behalf of the ECOWAS member States procured some medical equipment to fight COVID-19 for the use of the member States. The cost of airlifting was jointly borne by member States and delivered to Abuja where it was stored up. The stock for Nigeria was recently taken delivery of whilst the rest was initially stored up at the Premier Medical Warehouse in Jabi, Abuja to be airlifted for distribution to the other Countries.
The Director General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo in a communication released on the subject said the flag off event became necessary because NAF plans to airlift the first batch of the consignments to countries starting by Wednesday, 5th August, 2020 and going in the following order:
Wednesday, 5th August: routing through Abuja – Abidjan – Bissau – Banjul – Dakar – Abuja;
Friday, 7th August: routing through Abuja - Lome – Monrovia Freetown – Conakry – Praia – Abuja;
Monday, 10th August: routing through Abuja – Niamey – Ouagadougou – Bamako – Cotonou – Lagos.
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations, FMOH.