Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the European Union for donating the sum of N21 billion (50 million Euros) to support Nigeria’s efforts at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Buhari gave the commendation Tuesday when he received the EU delegation to the country led by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen at the State House, Abuja.
According to a statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Mr Buhari said the donation would go a long way in supporting Nigeria’s efforts at controlling and containing the virus to prevent community spread, as well as revitalise the national health care systems.
The president at the occasion also expressed sincere condolences of the government and people of Nigeria to EU-member countries and families who lost their loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and communities impacted. We are confident from history that the resilience of Europe and our global collective will enable us to emerge stronger from this tragedy.
“Although the EU is facing significant challenges due to this pandemic, I am indeed touched and grateful that the European Union still had the vision and foresight to remember its friends, partners and allies across the world,” Mr Buhari said.
President Buhari also lauded the EU on the recent launch of the ‘Team Europe’ package to support countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences.
He noted that the intervention, which is a collaboration between EU, its member states and financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, would go a long way in ensuring the impact of this pandemic was controlled and contained.
“Indeed, this brotherly support will save millions of lives. Nigeria, Africa and many beneficiary countries across the world will remain grateful for generations to come,” he said.
The president told the delegation that his administration had done a lot to date in the fight against COVID-19.
“So far, the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is 343. Our efforts as a government have focused on controlling and containing the virus to prevent community spread.
“I want to assure you that in this fight, Nigerians are united and by the grace of God and the continued support from our partners, we shall succeed,” he said.
In his remarks, Karlsen described the donation, channelled through the UN COVID-19 basket fund as, so far, the largest single contribution to the response in Nigeria and the largest support that EU is providing anywhere outside Europe.
“We heard your call for assistance and the EU has reacted swiftly as a demonstration of our true partnership,” he said.
Amb Ketil Karlsen of the European Union. pic.twitter.com/ueTVuHNQU8
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) April 14, 2020
The EU Ambassador congratulated the President for “a very powerful address to the nation last night,” stressing that “indeed the current situation is no joke and we wish to commend you for taking bold and necessary measures.”
He also announced that the Union was mobilising other sources of funding, noting that they have already paid 1.2 million Euros to UNICEF, and goods purchased through that funding are expected in the country soon.