The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says 239,349 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have so far benefited from its medical outreach programme between July 2015 and Nov. 2, 2017.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Adesanya said that the service had in 2015 started devoting a lot of resources to cater for the needs of the IDPs in the North-East and other parts of the country.
He said the whole idea had been to win “the hearts of people of the local communities in the various conflict areas, and to enable them to have sense of belonging, and that Nigeria is for them”.
He said the programme was part of the overall strategy of the fight against insurgency in the North-East and that it was also to cater for victims of other crisis in the country.
Adesanya noted that in 2015, NAF had established two emergency hospitals in IDPs camps in Bama and Dalori , and that the service medical personnel had been stationed there since then.
He said further that the service had conducted medical outreach programme all over the North-East – Bauchi, Yola , Yobe , Maiduguri and parts of Borno.
The director said NAF had extended the programme to virtually all the six geo-political zones in the country, except North-West.
“I can assure you that plans are at an advanced stage to conduct medical outreach in the North-West too.
“The programme will Start from Gusau, Zamfara, to meet the medical needs of the people in the villages affected by the activities of criminals, especially cattle rustlers,” he said.
He also said NAF had recently established Quick Response Unit in Gusau to combat activities of criminals in the state, particularly cattle rustlers.
Adesanya disclosed that NAF had conducted free cancer screening exercise in some states across the country as well as carried out surgeries on some patients.
“We have also organised training programmes for for IDPs in their various camps across the country, especially in the North-East, to improve their standard of living.
“Whenever it becomes necessary, we transport IDPs from their various camps and villages to NAF established hospitals in Maiduguri for better attention.
“Those who have cataracts were operated upon, and had their sights restored, and were given free eye glasses, as well, ” he said.
He said NAF had also provided portable water and shelter for the IDPs so as to make life easier for them.