The Federal Government on Friday solicited the collaboration of Government of India to produce vaccine against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said this in Abuja at the handing over ceremony of medicines donated by Indian Government to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to aid the fight against COVID-19.
Ehanire told the envoys that the partnership on vaccine production would help to address the need of the country and that of the ECOWAS sub-region.
“An area of interest I will like to stress is vaccine production; we are also a vaccine production aspiring country.
“Nigeria is presently in a joint venture with a private company on exploring vaccine production to meet the need of the country.
“We will like to collaborate with you, with the advance science in India to address the vaccine needs in Nigeria and in the ECOWAS sub-region,’’ the minister said.
He told his guests that he just attended meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers of Health, which discussed ways to address the vaccine needs of the sub-region.
According to him, it is the aspiration of the world to develop vaccine against COVID-19.
“Nigeria will be interested if there is a way to connect our scientists to join your scientists to produce vaccine against COVID-19.’’
He, however, thanked the India government for the donation, saying the items would help to serve the country better.
“I am delighted to receive these items donated by the government of India to the government and people of Nigeria.
“This is particularly touching because COVID-19 affects all countries. You have your own problem, just as we have our own problems.
“In spite of that, you have been able to find the resources and attention to be able to remember Nigeria to make your donation to us.
“In the past, we have had information from you on management protocol and technical advice on COVID-19,’’ the minister said.
Ehanire said that Nigeria has had long interaction with India on almost all areas, from defence to science, research and education, particularly.
“Perhaps, the most cognate of the connection between our countries is pharmaceutical; India is the hub of pharmaceutical productivity and all aspiring will look toward India in that respect.
“We look forward to collaborating with you in that area as well,’’ the minister said.
In his remarks, Mr Abhay Thakur, the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, said as part of India’s ongoing collaboration with African countries to combat COVID-19 pandemic, had decided to donate some items to Nigeria.
“Government of India today donated 7-tonnes of consignment of essentials medicines, including hydroxychloroquine and medicine including antibiotics to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The consignment has been sent to Nigeria in line with commitment made in the conversation between the Indian Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Foreign of Affairs of Nigeria.
“This donation underscores the special and unique ties between India and Nigeria,’’ he said.
According to him, India and Nigeria enjoy longstanding, multifaceted and friendly relations.
“India is a close developmental partner of Nigeria, and remains committed to build capacity and contribute toward the health and welfare of the people of Nigeria, including in combating and overcoming COVID-19 challenges.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that highlight of the ceremony was the acceptance of 586 cartoons of the medicines by the Ehanire from Thakur.