The Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu has stated that in view of the numerous capabilities of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), it remains a key enabler to the successful implementation of the 8-point agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration. The Minister Stated this earlier today, 5 September 2023 when she paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar. She noted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains committed to reducing the number of Nigerians in dire need of humanitarian assistance irrespective of their location. However, she stated, this will only be realizable if her Ministry can have easy access to some of the victims who reside in inaccessible areas. It was in view of the difficulty experienced in gaining access to these locations that the Minister was at the NAF Headquarters to seek for assurance and solicit for assistance in the delivery of relief materials to the needy in areas hindered by difficult terrains or insecurity.
Speaking further, Dr Edu stated that families of NAF veterans as well as those who paid the supreme price while on active duty will be captured in the new expanded poverty alleviation programme set to be rolled on in some weeks to come. To ensure that the appropriate NAF beneficiaries are captured under the expanded poverty alleviation programme, the Minister suggested for the establishment of a humanitarian desk officer at Headquarters NAF for ease of liaison with her Ministry during the compilation and submission of the list of beneficiaries. She also used the opportunity of the visit to commend the NAF for its assistance to the Ministry and its parastatal in the areas of casualty evacuation, distribution of relief materials and well as evacuation of stranded Nigerians in conflict areas overseas.
Responding, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the NAF and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Affairs have had a long history of collaboration either directly or through its numerous agencies. He assured the Minister of NAF’s readiness and willingness to assist her achieve the mandate of the Ministry and called for effective coordination which he said, is the cornerstone of any successful humanitarian operation. The CAS went on to propose key areas where both the NAF and the Ministry can strengthen their partnership. According to him, “Our organizations can partner in the areas of joint training and capacity building as well as optimize disaster response protocols to enable us act swiftly, minimize duplication of efforts and ensure more efficient allocation of resources.” He also noted that close collaboration will ensure that aid get to those in need in a timely and efficient manner.
The Minister, who was accompanied my senior officials of her ministry also took time out to lay a wreath at the NAF Memorial arcade.