President Muhammadu Buhari, has on Monday, in Abuja, said that only a collective international approach, will mitigate the devastating effects of Covid-19, while assuring that the Federal Government has intensified its efforts to monitor, test, and isolate more people, especially at the community level, in a bid to end the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
President Buhari, who participated in a virtual Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, stated that national, regional, and global strategies, would be required to tackle the pandemic, which, he said has ravaged humanity, and caused unprecedented devastation to the well-being of people, their livelihoods, and global economy.
His words: “The theme of this extra-ordinary Summit, ‘United Against Covid-19 Pandemic’, aptly reflects the importance for a proactive approach, and the need for multilateral cooperation, in finding quick solutions to the challenges that Covid-19 pandemic poses to our nations.
“Since the outbreak of the disease, countries have made concerted efforts to limit the spread of the pandemic within and outside their borders, as well as treating those infected by the virus.
“Two weeks ago, we in West Africa came together to work out a common sub-regional response to the crisis. The Summit appointed me the Champion to lead our efforts on fighting the pandemic in our region.’’
The President noted that the task before the international community, remains daunting, and more needs to be done to reduce the impact of Covis-19.
According to him: “It is now clearly evident, that no nation can independently and singlehandedly tackle a pandemic of this nature, which is no respecter of borders, regions, or status.
“Invariably, enhancing multilateral cooperation through exchange and sharing of best practices, is imperative to overcome the disease. We must, therefore, form a united front against this common enemy, by being coordinated and timely in our responses.
“Furthermore, we must all encourage and empower our Scientists and Medical Experts, to join the quest for a vaccine and cure to this universal plague.’’
The President, told Heads of States and Governments of the Non-Aligned Movement, that the central role of the United Nations, UN, and the World Health Organisation, WHO, in fighting the pandemic, must be acknowledged and leveraged for the benefit of all member nations.
“It is therefore, essential to fully collaborate and support their initiatives in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic. Such efforts should include the protection of our Medical workers, provision of medical supplies, especially test kits, and ultimately, finding a vaccine to cure the disease.’’
President Buhari urged international financial institutions to assist member States, in cushioning the negative impact of the pandemic, in the spirit of solidarity, which will include extending concessional loans, technical support, lowering of tariff on medical equipment and consumables, sharing of expertise in case management, adopting open trade policies, as well as outright debt cancellation.
“Within the spirit of South-South cooperation, we must also assist one another, particularly the less developed and less endowed member States, with technical, medical, and financial assistance. It is by so doing that we can rightly claim to uphold the Bandung Principles of equality, mutual interests, and cooperation.’’
On efforts to control the spread of the virus in Nigeria, and ameliorate the economic effect, the President said: “We have closed our land borders and airports, and reduced seaport activities, in a bid to curb imported cases from entering the country. Unfortunately, the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, as a result of community transmission of the disease.
“Accordingly, we have increased our efforts to monitor trends of the disease, established more isolation centres, and stepped up testing at the community level, and of potentially vulnerable groups.’’