The Nigeria Air Force has commenced mass production of face masks and Personal Protective Equipment to fight the coronavirus in the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said this on Friday while inaugurating a tailoring workshop and the newly reactivated Mi-35P attack helicopter at the 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Federal Government recently appealed to tailors to commence the production of face masks to ease its shortage in the country.
According to Abubakar, the tailoring workshop is a replica of a similar centre in Kaduna used for the production of personnel uniforms.
He said: “The tailoring workshop is an initiative that we started mainly for the production of service uniforms for our personnel.
“However, in response to current emergency situation (COVID-19), the facility has commenced the production of face masks and PPE needed to protect Nigerians from the virus.
“I’ve directed that they (personnel) ensure that the PPE are certified by relevant agencies of government before they are deployed to our (NAF) hospitals, and other hospitals.”
Abubakar said that NAF had also commenced production of Liquid Oxygen from its plant in Yola, Adamawa State for use by hospitals.
He said the force was also looking at other areas to support the Federal Government’s efforts to halt further spread of the virus in the country.
Abubakar added that the reactivation of the Mi-35P attack helicopter was aimed at complementing the efforts of ground forces fighting insurgents and bandits in the North East and North West Zones.
He said: “So, we are very excited that our technicians and engineers working round the clock have completed another in-country repair of this Mi-35P aircraft into flying status.
“This means that our ability to project air power has been enhanced in supporting sister security agencies to restore normalcy in some parts of the country.
“We also commend the Federal Government for providing 22 helicopter gunships and other aircrafts, which have already been inducted into the service.”
Air Commodore Uche Nwagwu, Managing Director, Nigerian Air Force Investment Limited, said the tailoring workshop in Kaduna, which was established in June 2017, had produced about 116,480 pairs of uniforms.
Nwagwu added that the Port Harcourt workshop had so far produced over 36,800 face masks and 450 PPE since it commenced production on April 3.