The governor of Borno State, Prof Babangana Zulum, has explained the reasons for hiring a private jet to fly an injured Nigerian army officer to Abuja for treatment.
Zulum said he was touched by the condition he met the wounded army officer upon hearing that the injuries were sustained from bullet wounds in a gun duel with the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno.
The Borno State governor added that the officer’s story was pitiable, but he had to offer him help, abandoning his trip for someone who had made a sacrifice protecting his fellow countrymen.
Meanwhile, a report filed by a counter-insurgency group, Zagazola Makama, corroborated Zulum’s claim, noting that the officer who is simply identified as Major Garba sustained injuries from bullets during a face-off with Boko Haram insurgents in Wajiroko, Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The report further said that Garba, who was being treated at the Maimalari Cantonment Hospital, was given a pass to see his private doctor in Abuja.
However, he was denied entry into a commercial airline because of his health condition.
The report added that Garba was feeling dejected by the response he got and had to resign to fate by waiting for the next military flight boarding to Abuja. Just then, Governor Zulum who was travelling to Abuja came into the airport and on sighting the wounded officer stopped to greet him, heard his story and offered to help.
“It was in the course of the greeting that he learnt of the soldier’s dilemma. He was told how the airlines refused to fly him due to his condition.
“A regular flier of commercial airlines, the governor who was moved by the soldier’s condition and the refusal by the commercial airline to fly him, decided to intervene. His intervention was as instantaneous as it was far-reaching,” the report added.
The governor, being moved by the officer’s dilemma, reportedly hired a private jet to fly the wounded Garba to Abuja.
In August 2021, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, launched the welfare flight at the air force base in Maiduguri for soldiers and officers of Operation Hadin Kai in the North-East who are on a pass and wish to go see their families.
The army chief said then that the development is part of efforts to cater for the welfare of troops who are proceeding on a pass to and from the theatre of operations to other parts of the country.