As academic activities resume in Dalori and Bama Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps in Borno State, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has resumed the daily feeding of over 1,000 school pupils in the 2 camps. The Chief of Medical Services, Air Vice Marshal Saleh Shinkafi, revealed this today, 10 July 2018, at the NAF Headquarters. The school feeding initiative, which commenced in 2015, is part of the commitment of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, towards addressing the medical and other welfare challenges among children in the 2 IDP camps. Within the first 3 months of commencement of the school feeding programme in 2015, attendance of pupils in the schools at the IDP camps increased by more than 50 per cent and, as at 10 May 2018, NAF had provided over 372,000 meals for the pupils. The NAF school feeding programme in the Northeast is sponsored largely from donations by private companies and voluntary quarterly cash contributions by NAF personnel, as instituted by the CAS.
The introduction of free feeding for school-going children in the 2 IDP camps in Borno State is part of the resolve by the NAF leadership to bring succour to Nigerians who had been displaced by insurgency. For instance, a Level 2 hospital was established in Dalori IDP Camp in 2015 and another emergency hospital was established in Bama IDP Camp in 2016 to meet the healthcare needs of IDPs. It was in the process of providing healthcare at the NAF hospital in Dalori IDP Camp in 2015 that the acute problem of malnutrition among the children was observed. Accordingly, in order to prevent serious medical crisis, the NAF leadership, through the Medical Services Branch, immediately commenced the feeding of children at the hospital within the camp and later transferred the feeding programme to the school within the camp. Following the success of the school feeding initiative in Dalori, the programme was replicated at the Bama IDP Camp in 2016.
It is noteworthy that since assumption of office in 2015, the current NAF leadership has conducted series of medical outreach programmes in the Northeast and different parts of the country during which it has provided free medical care to over 495,439 civilians. The provision of free medical care and the school feeding initiative are part of the NAF’s humanitarian efforts, targeted at winning the hearts and minds of members of the communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency as part of the strategy for fighting the insurgency.
Air Vice Marshal
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force