For the first time since the inception of the Eastern Naval Command, its medical team performed surgeries on Nigerians diagnosed with cataracts.
The navy also administered test and treatments for various tropical diseases ranging from blood sugar, malaria, hypertension, HIV and AIDs on more than one thousand people, including children.
Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, who was represented at the exercise by Commodore Tanko Pani, said “the free healthcare services were to mark our diamond jubilee that is 60 years of the Nigerian Navy”.
He explained that the Ugep community in Yakurr Local Government Area in the central district of Cross River State, southern Nigeria, was the largest village in the Niger Delta.
“Ugep was chosen because of our close relationship with the community over the years. The Nigerian Navy grew from humble beginnings and we have attained maturity at 60.”
“The Nigerian Navy has expanded over the years to incorporate a lot of establishments, ships and a lot of personnel. To a large extent we have come a long way,” Oluwole said .
Some of the Beneficiaries of the services including the traditional leader of the community, Obol Lopon of Ugep, Ofem Eteng described the medical rhapsody as “a long awaited, a needed and welcome assistance.”
Gladys Okoi stated: “I am so happy about this exercise because this is what we have been praying for. I thank God for this day. I am so grateful.”
Another elderly beneficiary, Ubagha Ubagha said “I am here for my eye. I have serious eye problem. So I am going to wait here until I get attention.”
In his reaction, the traditional ruler Ofem Eteng stated: “I sent out town criers and the people, men, women and children are coming out for this free medical programme. We all know that health is wealth and for the Nigerian Navy to choose Ugep is a show of deep love for our people”.
“We also thank our dear President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing our sons to serve as Chief of Naval Staff and Minister of the Niger Delta as well as Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution. We are indeed grateful to benefit from such a gesture.”
The head of the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital Calabar, Rear Admiral Yusuf said the navy would continue with its free services to the people, as has been the tradition, when serious cases are referred to its headquarters in Calabar, south of the State