President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the 261 Nigerian Airforce Reference Hospital and some roads projects executed by the Bauchi State government.
The president who was on a one day working visit to Bauchi state was received at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport Bauchi by Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, his Adamawa state counterpart.
Speaking at the commissioning of the NAF Reference Hospital, President Muhammadu Buhari said that the establishment of the Special Operations Command (SOC) in Bauchi together with the hospital is an initiative which confirms the collective commitment to tackle any threat to Nigeria’s security.
“Essentially, this facility is part of our growing commitment to enhance the welfare of troops in the theatre of operations. I hasten to remind you all, that the welfare of members of the armed forces is one of the critical priorities of this administration and this hospital symbolises our commitment to this policy,” he said.
The president maintained that the hospital was established to support and provide a critical healthcare role for the military and other security agencies and the people of Bauchi State.
“It will specifically provide additional medical support for members of the Armed Forces involved in Counter-Insurgency operations in the North East,”he added.
President Buhari informed that, world wide, military hospitals are well equipped and funded to provide the best healthcare services adding that the NAF Reference Hospital in Bauchi is of International Statndard.
“I understand that, you have some of the best facilities available and are equipped to deliver the highest standard available anywhere. This is a 60-bed hospital with facilities such as CT Scan, MRI, cancer screening center and a dialysis centre. Recently, the Federal Government through the Ministry Of Health announced an ongoing plan towards establishing a National Agency for Cancer Control (NACC) in Nigeria.
“What that implies was that, when the agency come on stream, this hospital will fit into its activities towards tackling Cancer, one of the major sources of health concerns in Nigeria and globally.
“The airfoce remains a key components of the armed forces in its constitutional role of providing aid to civil authorities across the country.These efforts include survellanc even, security airports, emergency assistance and resettlement of displaced people.
“These laudable efforts will continue in the interest of the country as it is our strategic goals to widen civil -military relationship,”The president added.
In his speech earlier. Chief of Air Staff, Air Mashal Abubakar Sadiq commended the president for supporting the Nigerian Airforce has enjoiyed under his administration saying that it has positioned the service to effectively discharge it’s constitutional responsibilities.
He noted that thePresident’s support has manifested in the various theaters of operations especially in the country.
“In the North East alone, the NAF has flown 14.803 flying hours 29 minutes providing close air support, logistic resuply, combat recce/patrols, battle interdiction and ISR roles to create the enabling environment for our grand troops to undertake their operations with little or no hindrance,”he said.
He said though the hospital was established to provide care to personnel of NAF and the armed forces, it’s services have been extended to host community has it has been the tradition in NAF and that it will enhance the cordial relationship existing between the NAF and the host communities.
Air Marshal Abubakar said that NAF has embarked on upgrade of its medical facilities through the enhancement of existing infrastructure, provision of modern equipment, training of existing staff and recruitment of appropriate professionals to bridge the manpower deficiency in its health care facilities.
“So far the NAF has provided medical care to over 233,720 Internally Displaced Persons through regular medical outreach programs in Brono and Adamawa state as well as the FCT.
“Additionally, the NAF has established Emergency field hospital Dalori and Bama IDP camps and upgraded the state clinic in Maikohi IDP camp in Yola.
In the same vein, the NAF has also organised series ipof surgical programs in which over 1.871 IDPs with eye and other surgical problems were operated and treated free of charge. he added.
He appreciated the Bauchi state governor, Mohammed Abubakar and the people of the state for their support to the Nigerian Airforce and for allocating the huge parcel of land where NAF Special Command and three units of brigade status are currently located.
In his remarks, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali said that the establishment of the NAF Base in Bauchi shows the personal commitment of the president to nation building through guaranteed security.
He assured that the Federal Government will continue to invest in infrastructure and ensure better professionalism in the Nigerian Airforce and the entire Nigerian Armed Forces.