Babangana Zulum, Borno governor, has been reported to have hired a private jet to fly a wounded Nigerian army officer to Abuja for treatment.
According to Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication, the officer, simply identified as Major Garba, had sustained serious bullets injury during a face-off with Boko Haram insurgents in Wajiroko, Damboa in Borno.
The publication narrated that Garba, who was receiving treatment at the Maimalari cantonment hospital, was on an approved pass to see his private doctor in Abuja.
He was, however, to have been denied entry into a commercial flight he had booked due to his health condition.
A pass, in military parlance, is permission to be away from one’s unit for a limited period of time.
“Dejected by the response he got, he resigned his fate and was patiently waiting for the next Military flight that will be going to Abuja. Just then Governor Zulum who was travelling to Abuja sauntered into airport. On sighting the wounded Officer, he stopped to greet him,” the publication wrote.
“It was in the course of the greeting that he learnt of the soldier’s dilemma. He was told how the Airliners refused to fly him due to his conditions.
“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 governor, being moved by the officer’s dilemma, reportedly hired a private jet to fly the wounded Garba to Abuja.
“He dropped his own travel plan with the commercial airline and promptly hired a private jet to fly the wounded soldier to Abuja, accompanied by himself,” the publication added.
In August 2021, Faruk Yahaya, the chief of army staff, had 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 fro the theatre of operations to other parts of the country.