Says Pandemic yet to reach its peak in West Africa
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned West African leaders under the umbrella of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, against laxity in the fight against the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic, saying that the virus is yet to reach its peak in the sub-region.
The President, who is the ECOWAS COVID-19 Champion, has also charged the ECOWAS Commission to come up with an economic recovery plan to help member-states to recover from the economic devastation caused by coronavirus pandemic.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja explained that Buhari in his capacity as the ECOWAS COVID-19 Champion at a virtual meeting with the President of the Commission, Jean Kassi-Brou, agreed to provide logistic support to enable the sub-region to receive and distribute procured and donated medical equipment using Abuja as the hub for the distribution.
According to the statement, “The Nigerian leader lamented that the pandemic is yet to reach its peak in the sub-region and warned against laxity in the fight against it. He called on member-states to continually sensitise their citizens on preventive measures.
“The President expressed appreciation on behalf of ECOWAS member-states for the “swift interventions made to the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control by the Jack Ma Foundation,” while also commending the support so far received from “development partners such as the European Union, African Development Bank, France and Germany for their financial contributions in the procurement of medical supplies.”
“He urged member-states to work closely in order to overcome the pandemic in the sub-region.”
In his report to President Buhari, the President of the ECOWAS Commission advocated additional strategies to assist the sub-region in fighting the health and economic impact of COVID-19.
The strategies Kassi-Brou said include,” the need for advocacy at continental and global levels particularly with the G20, World Bank, United Nations and the African Development Bank among others, for support to negate the health and economic damage to the ECOWAS sub-region; and mass awareness campaign to achieve behavioural change among the citizens of the community with effective customs, security and health protocols put in place throughout the sub-region.”
The President of the ECOWAS Commission also condoled with the government and people of Nigeria on the latest Boko Haram attack on Gubio Local Government in Borno State during which scores of innocent Nigerians were killed.