Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja
The military says it has prepared 17 hospitals for the isolation and treatment of confirmed cases.
The Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said at a press conference in Abuja on Friday that the military had finalised plans to recall retired medical personnel to complement those in active service as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Our correspondent learnt that some of the hospitals on standby for the coronavirus pandemic are the Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Abuja; Kaduna Reference Hospital, Kaduna: Port Harcourt Military Hospital and the Lagos Military Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Enenche said apart from medical preparations, they had activated their Disaster Response Units to manage the security situations in any part of the country as a result of coronavirus.
He said, “Sequel to the ongoing fight against the spread of coronavirus by the Federal Government, the armed forces have put measures in place to aid the civil authorities.
“Section 217 (2) C of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the military to act in aid of civil authority.
“Consequently, a committee was constituted at the Defence Headquarters to ensure that the armed forces provide the necessary support for the Federal Government at this period. It is mainly a non-kinetic military operation with major features of civil-military cooperation activities. Equally, it is in line with the Chief of Defence Staff’s lines of conducting contemporary military operations in Nigeria.
“In this regard, the armed forces have developed a two-pronged approach to fighting the pandemic – medical and security.
“The medical approach is the deployment of military personnel in aid of all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government through the provision of land, maritime and air assets, for transport of emergency cases and medical supplies, as was the case with the medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.
“Under the medical aid, we have 17 medical facilities spread across the country, which have been designated for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases of COVID-19. We have also concluded plans to recall our retired medical personnel to complement those in active service.”
He added that they would ensure that there was no security breach during the period residents were forced to stay at home.
Enenche said, “On security-related support, the armed forces will activate its Disaster Response Units across the country in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency.
“These units will be responsible for the security management of emergencies other than medicals. The Defence Headquarters hereby assures the general public of its total commitment to the human security effort of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The DMO also said troops would not halt the ongoing internal security operations because of coronavirus.
Enenche said they would not suspend the operations because they were trained to be alert and to keep a healthy distance.
“The military cannot suspend its operations in the country, because operations are not conducted in enclosures. Operations are conducted in the open and naturally, even if we are going for encounters, we don’t fight in one enclosure.
“Even when we burst camps, we maintain the distancing by our training. It is nothing close to one metre at all. Secondly, as the pandemic came up, we have sent to our units, barracks and theatres of operation on how to go about the precautionary measures. That and other sensitisations have been done,” Enenche said on Tuesday during an interview.