In compliance with the directive of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for all Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Commands to donate palliatives to members of NAF host communities in commemoration of the NAF's 56th Anniversary, the Tactical, Mobility, Special Operations, Air Training, Ground Training and Logistics Commands have concluded the distribution of food items and other essentials to indigent members of their host communities. The distribution of palliatives by the NAF Commands, which took place from 23 - 25 April 2020, is coming just a few days after the distribution of similar relief packages by the Headquarters NAF and the National Secretariat of the NAF Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) to host communities in Abuja. Some of the palliatives distributed to cushion the economic effect of the lockdown imposed to curb the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic included beans, noodles, tubers of yams, rice, vegetable oil, semovita, bags of Garri, condiments, hand sanitizers and face masks, amongst others.
In Lagos, the Headquarters of the Logistics Command (LC), the distribution of palliatives took place at Ewu, Shogunle, Mafoluku and Shasha Communities in Oshodi/Isolo and Alimosho Local Government Areas (LGA), where 700 families were catered for. Speaking during the handing over of the food items to the Obas of Ewu and Shasha, respectively, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) LC, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Lawal Alao, stated that the palliatives were to be given to the most vulnerable, pregnant women, disabled and aged people in the communities. Expressing his appreciation, the Oba of Ewu, His Royal Majesty Adeshina Kuti, noted that the people of his Community were finding it extremely difficult to feed following the lockdown, adding that the palliatives would go a long way to ease the plight of his community members. In the same vein, the Oba of Shasha His Royal Majesty Babatunde Akanni, while appreciating the NAF for coming to their aid at this critical period, noted that the palliatives donated by the NAF would reduce the hunger and hardship people of the community were experiencing. Beneficiaries, who could not hide their joy, also expressed their appreciation to the NAF.
Host communities of Ground Training Command (GTC) with the Headquarters in Enugu were not left out in the distribution of palliatives as about 200 indigent families in Gabor Village, Emene, Ugbowa, Akpakpa Nike and Agbani in Nkanu East LGA of Enugu State benefited from the palliatives. Speaking during the flag off ceremony, the AOC, AVM Idi Amin, stated that the distribution of the palliatives was on the directive of the CAS to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in alleviating the suffering as a result of the lockdown. He therefore urged the beneficiaries to always adhere to the stipulated guidelines such as regular washing of hands with soap, use of hand sanitizers whilst also observing social distancing protocols. The beneficiaries of the gesture expressed appreciation to the NAF for bringing succour to their communities.
In Yenegoa, the Headquarters of Mobility Command (MC), palliatives were distributed to 120 poor and vulnerable households of the PDP and Opolo Communities, including widows and other less privileged, many of whom danced for joy at the NAF’s gesture. The AOC MC, AVM Ibukun Ojeyemi, while flagging off the distribution, stated that the programme, in addition to commemorating the NAF’s 56th Anniversary, was also aimed at complementing the efforts of the Federal and State Governments in alleviating the plight of citizens as result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Speaking during the event in Bauchi, where 200 families in Gwallaga and Durum Communities in Bauchi LGA were beneficiaries, the AOC, Special Operations Command (SOC), AVM Charles Ohwo, stated that the distribution of the palliatives was part of the NAF’s corporate social responsibility to its host communities. He noted that aside from dropping of bombs and firing of bullets in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country, the Service has always taken action to execute programmes aimed at wining the hearts and minds of host communities.
At the Headquarters Tactical Air Command (TAC), Makurdi, Benue State, 240 families from Abinsi, Fiidi, Ogondu and Ter Communities benefited from the palliatives. Speaking during the distribution, the AOC, AVM Olusegun Philip, noted that the CAS, in his usual heart of generosity and kindness, found it necessary to send palliatives to cushion the effects of the hardship experienced by families due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. He urged everyone to stay at home, keep safe and abide by the established guidelines to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. In his response at the event, the Ter Makurdi, Chief JD Sule-Abenga, while expressing his appreciation to the NAF, stated that it was the first time these types of palliatives were being extended to his Community.
In Kaduna, the AOC Air Training Command, AVM Musa Mukhtar, was on hand to distribute palliatives to 350 families in Barakallahu, Kauya and Kirama Communities in Rigachikun District of Igabi LGA of Kaduna State. Speaking during the event, the AOC noted that the palliatives were being distributed to the poor and vulnerable groups in the Command’s host communities pursuant to the directives of the CAS. He therefore appreciated the CAS for his foresight in initiating the exercise. He stated that the NAF would continue to support community development oriented programmes in Kaduna State. While responding, the Hakeemi of Rigachikun, Abdulrasheed Sani, appreciated the CAS for the laudable initiative, noting that the palliatives would reduce hunger and also mitigate the hardship of the people of his Community.