EU gives Nigeria N21bn to fight coronavirus, Buhari reacts

THE European Union (EU) has donated a grant of N21 billion, about €50 million, to Nigeria to aid the fight against coronavirus in the country.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, shared the news in a tweet, where he disclosed that the president received the  EU delegation at the Council Chambers, State House, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The EU delegation led by Ketil Karlsen said the fund is so far, the largest single contribution to the fight against Coronavirus in Nigeria and the largest support that EU is providing anywhere outside Europe.

This is coming shortly after the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the EU plans to secure up to €15 billion to help partners worldwide to combat the coronavirus.

Leyen stressed that it is necessary to wage a global  war against  Coronavirus pandemic.

In response, President Buhari expressed appreciation for  the EU’s contribution, stating that the donation would go a long way in stopping the spread of the virus in the country, as well as rejiggering the nation’s fragile healthcare system.

He said the fund which is channeled through the (UN) One COVID-19 Basket Fund is the result of collaboration between the EU, its member states and financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The fund would help cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the president added.

“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.’’

President Buhari on behalf of the Nigerian government and the people expressed condolences to EU-member countries and the families of those who lost their loved ones as a result of 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 has the vision and foresight to remember its friends, partners and allies across the world,’’ he said.

    Currently, Nigeria has recorded 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost a dozen deaths from complications arising from Covid-19.

    Meanwhile, Italy, a member of the EU has recorded over 159,000 coronavirus cases and over 20,000 deaths, with its health system completely overwhelmed and the virus still ravaging the country.

    To support Italy and other country-members facing tougher situation than African countries, Leyen, in a short address said the EU has provided support by sending doctors and equipments to the affected nations.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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