The combined military training organised by the United States Air Force (USAF) Command in Europe in partnership with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has opened in Lagos. The week-long programme with the theme, “Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Deployment”, commenced today at the Sam Ethnan Air Force Base, Ikeja and would bring together countries in Africa to simulate a combined security and humanitarian environment.
While declaring the programme open, the Special Guest of Honour, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, said the combined training was a welcome development as it was an indication that the Nigerian Armed Forces, as represented by the NAF were committed to regional peace and stability through combined training. “I would therefore like to specially commend the USAF and the NAF for organizing this programme, which is ultimately aimed at building our capacity to jointly tackle the menace of insurgency within and outside our borders. It is no news that the NAF is one of the leading organisations that have impacted positively in the lives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East, in addition to the outstanding performance in their traditional role of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria”, he stated.
Earlier in his opening address, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, remarked that the programme could not have come at a more appropriate time than now, considering the great need for proper medical care in and outside the theatre of operations. According to him, the NAF was not unmindful of the effects and aftermath of insurgency to the plight of innocent civilians, including women and children, who often are the unintended victims. “It is for this reason that the NAF has embarked on several humanitarian programmes aimed at alleviating the plight of the IDPs. I believe that the combined training exercise would definitely enhance mutual relationships and interoperability among the participating countries.”
Other activities lined up for the one-week programme include a static display, intended to showcase the arrangement of stretchers in the NAF C-130H aircraft and a medical outreach programme for IDPs within the Lagos area. The African Partnership Flight is a multilateral, military to military engagement designed to enhance African regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity in the aviation sector. A total of 88 participants from the Republics of Benin, Chad and Niger as well as Nigeria and the United States of America are participating in the workshop.