By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force has been advised to establish a humanitarian desk office at its Headquarters in Abuja for easy liaison with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, during the compilation and submission of the list of beneficiaries to ensure that appropriate beneficiaries of the force are captured under the expanded poverty alleviation programme, EPAP.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, who made the suggestion, assured the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, that families of all those who paid the supreme price while in active duty, as well as veterans are captured in the new expanded poverty alleviation programme set to be rolled out in some weeks to come.
A statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the Minister stated this during a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar.
The Minister commended the air force for its assistance to the Ministry and its parastatal in the areas of casualty evacuation, distribution of relief materials and evacuation of stranded Nigerians in conflict areas abroad.
In view of the difficulty experienced in gaining access to these locations according to the minister, was the essence of her visit to seek assurance and solicit for assistance in the delivery of relief materials to the needy in areas hindered by difficult terrains or insecurity.
Betta said that in view of the numerous capabilities of NAF, it remains a key enabler to the successful implementation of the 8-point agenda of the Tinubu-led administration hence the need for her Ministry to have easy access to some of the victims who reside in inaccessible areas.
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.
In his response, Air Marshal Abubakar, said that NAF and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation 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 Air Force Chief also proposed key areas where both NAF and the Ministry can strengthen their partnership especially in the areas of joint training and capacity building as well as optimising disaster response protocols to enable them act swiftly, minimise 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, was accompanied by senior officials of her ministry on the visit and she took the opportunity to lay a wreath at the NAF Memorial arcade.