We have not abandoned N/West – Military

By Chuks Oyema-Aziken

The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), on Thursday denied accusations that it has abandoned it’s responsibilities in the North-West.

Recently, the senator representing Sokoto East, Ibrahim Gobir raised alarm that residents of Sokoto State now rely on the soldiers of Niger Republic for protection against armed bandits as Nigerian Army has completely abandoned them.

For this reason, he said, not less than 5,000 people in the affected areas have migrated to Niger Republic for safety.

Reacting to the development, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, at a news conference on the operations of Nigerian military on Thursday in Abuja, saidd the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army and the DHQ-led Operation Hadarin Daji were taking care of the situation.

Enenche stated that the Nigerien and Nigerian forces have always collaborated to fight criminality in the North-West.

Enenche said the Armed Forces of Nigeria have deployed additional 220 medical personnel to support the effort of government in tackling the novel Coronavirus pandemic across the country.

Enenche said it was necessary to train additional personnel in selected hospitals to boost the capacity of medical personnel in the management of COVID-19 due to rising cases of the pandemic in the country.

He explained that the training package was a Train-the-Trainer, where the beneficiaries were expected to train other personnel at hospitals, related medical facilities and other places of deployment.

According to him, the Armed Forces of Nigeria COVID-19 case management/IPC training will be conducted in 8 designated military centres across the country.

They are Headquarters 1 Division Kaduna, 6 Division Port Harcourt, 7 Division Maiduguri, 81 Division Lagos and Headquarters 82 Division Enugu.

“Others are Headquarters Eastern Naval Command Calabar, Headquarters Tactical Air Command Makurdi and Headquarters Guards Brigade Abuja.

“At the end of this training the total number will be 300 personnel.

“Recall that at the commencement of Armed Forces of Nigeria’s intervention in the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, it made available 21 medical facilities to be used as isolation and treatment centres.

“Additionally, 80 medical personnel were concentrated in Abuja and trained on COVID-19 case Management/Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), who were thereafter deployed to different geo-political zones of the Country and the FCT,” he said.

Enenche also disclosed that the present reality occasioned by the spread of COVID-19 had altered the mode of military operations across the country.

He added that the military had adopted the COVID-19 prevention strategy in dealing with terrorists or bandits who either surrendered or were captured.

He added that they were being quarantined either at the correctional centres or any other facility.

According to him, whether the captured or surrendered enemy, they have to be treated with standard procedure and it is in line with the Geneva Convention.

“We quarantine; we have these facilities. The COVID-19 has changed the way things are done. Before two weeks into the pandemic, we already produced our face masks and it is a mixed family when you are on operation – the domestic and the extended.

“The extended family are the visitors you will get, the captured enemies and surrendered enemies and you have to treat them.

“For the overall safety of the troops, if somebody is surrendering, you give social distancing and then give him the directive to move forward and then give him facemask.

“That is why we have produced face masks in thousands and sent to the north East and other operational areas.

“So, it has changed the face of our operations to be in compliance with COVID-19 standard,” he said.

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