President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the world leaders to give strong emphasis to the sharing of knowledge in research and science as the best way to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The President, who spoke today, June 17, at a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 co-hosted by the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), said: ”as we face a common pervasive and invisible enemy, it is important that we all remain united to save our shared humanity, because this virus knows no borders.
“The fight against a global pandemic that continues to take so many lives, threaten livelihoods and challenging the very fabric of societies, requires enhanced cooperation and worldwide solidarity.
“I seize this opportunity to reiterate the need for this Summit to put humanity at the centre of our vision for common prosperity.
“We must learn lessons and share knowledge from research, as we develop more creative, responsive and humane health systems, improve crisis management protocols and support each other in the battle against COVID-19.”
The Nigerian leader commended the Chinese government, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres and the World Health Organization for the respective actions and measures to help developing and middle-income countries in Africa to tackle the pandemic.
Buhari praised the UN Secretary-General for launching coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund for low and middle-income countries to tackle the health emergency, address social and economic consequences of the crisis and, strengthen the recovery efforts of most vulnerable countries.
He also commended the leadership of the global health body, WHO, for its advice that enabled Nigeria take measures and enlighten its people on steps to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
President Buhari acknowledged that Chinese support had tremendously strengthened Nigeria’s effort in combating coronavirus, adding that President Xi’s strong support has further demonstrated the spirit of solidarity and enhanced the bond of partnership that already exist among FOCAC Member-States.
He gave an update on what his administration has done since the tragedy of the global pandemic hit the country.
“From the outset of the pandemic, we in Nigeria instituted strong surveillance and infection prevention as well as control measures and made provisions to strengthen our testing capacities.
“Several well-equipped treatment and isolation centers were set up across the country to increase bed capacity.
“In the spirit of international collaboration, medical experts in Nigeria participated by video link in learning and experience-sharing exercises organized by experts from various countries, including China.”
The Nigerian President said that his government had trained several thousand healthcare workers, provided Personal Protective Equipment to ensure the safety of frontline workers, and offered incentives for their motivation.
Buhari said that the Federal Government had created the enabling environment for farmers to safely plant and harvest during this rainy season in order to ensure that food security is not compromised during the restrictions in movements occasioned by the need to contain the spread of the virus.
“In addition, we took steps for prompt transportation of agricultural products and food items from rural production areas to the consumers and to industrial processing zones.
“We have also developed practical policies to protect lives and livelihoods at the same time and to ensure our economy continues to function as we maintain an aggressive response to the pandemic.”
In his remarks, the Chinese President said that the summit was convened to discuss joint response to coronavirus and renew fraternity with Africa.
He said that the world must mobilise resources and do whatever it takes to protect lives, adding that China will do whatever it can to support procurement of supplies, sending medical experts, and in other diverse ways.
President Xi noted that China and Africa account for nearly one-third of the global population, even as he pledged to step up support for Africa, adding that China will provide two billion USD over two years to support the work of WHO in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The summit was co-hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, and Senegal President and co-chair of FOCAC Macky Sall.