President Muhammadu Buhari has assured fellow African leaders that Nigeria is committed to partnering with them to provide “safe and effective” COVID-19 vaccines for Africans.
Godfrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, read Buhari’s speech during a virtual meeting of the 34th ordinary session of the African Union (AU), which held on Saturday.
Reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to the AU, Buhari said Nigeria will continue to work with other member-states, in the spirit of regional cooperation and solidarity, to promote human health and general wellbeing.
“I will like to stress that Nigeria is committed to working with other member states in the spirit of regional cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general wellbeing”, he was quoted as saying.
“We will continue to partner with the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Center for Disease Control and West African Health Organization as well as other countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing as well as unhindered supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines to all Africans”.
Buhari also congratulated Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on his appointment as AU chairman.
The president assured Tshisekedi of Nigeria’s “unflinching support” and wished him a successful tenure.
Tshisekedi takes over from Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa.
“I will like at the outset to express our profound gratitude to my brother, President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the outstanding manner in which he has steered the affairs of our union during the last one year”, Buhari further said.
“I will also like to congratulate my brother, President Felix Tshisekedi on his assumption of our union. We wish you a happy and successful tenure and assure you of Nigeria’s unflinchingly support”.
He thanked the outgoing chairman for utilising the AU platform to address key issues for Africa.
“The leadership provided by the Assembly Bureau, the cooperation of the African Union Commission and regional economic cooperation, including the support from partners have been exemplary,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
“Your Excellencies, the establishment of a coronavirus response special fund with the objective to implement measures to mitigate the socio-economic and humanitarian impact of Coronavirus in Africa, including boosting the capacity of the African Center for Disease Control is commendable.
“Nigeria welcomes today’s report from my brother Cyril Ramaphosa, including the endorsement of the attached decisions. In view of the results on ground today, Africa must be commended even as we begin the implementation of a mitigation strategy. The imperative for the immunisation of 60 percent of Africans with safe and secure vaccines cannot be overemphasized.
“Nigeria, therefore, welcomes the decision to establish the coronavirus African Vaccine Acquisition Capacity to accelerate the financing and procurement of coronavirus vaccines for the continent.
“We continue to appreciate the remarkable progress by the team with respect to securing a provisional 270 million coronavirus vaccines doses for Africa along with Africa Medical Supply platform and other laudable initiatives already in place,” he noted.