The European Union EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen has hailed President Muhammed Buhari for his very powerful address to the nation, stressing that the current situation is no joke and wished to commend the President for taking bold step of extending the lockdown and taking necessary measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking while he led the EU delegation to meet with President Muhammed Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday as the European Union donated the sum of N21 billion (50 million Euros) to support Nigeria’s efforts at controlling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
He described the donation, channelled through the UN COVID-19 basket fund as, so far, the largest single contribution to the response in Nigeria and the largest support that EU is providing anywhere outside Europe. ‘‘We heard your call for assistance and the EU has reacted swiftly as a demonstration of our true partnership,’’ he said.
He also announced that the Union was mobilising other sources of funding, noting that they have already paid 1.2 million Euros to UNICEF, and goods purchased through that funding are expected in the country soon. In his remark, President Buhari lauded the European Union for the donation, saying the donation would go a long way in supporting Nigeria’s efforts at controlling and containing the virus to prevent community spread, as well as revitalise the national health care systems.
He used the occasion to express sincere condolences of the Government and people of Nigeria to EU-member countries and families who lost their loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and communities impacted. We are confident from history that the resilience of Europe and our global collective will enable us to emerge stronger from this tragedy.
‘‘Although the EU is facing significant challenges due to this pandemic, I am indeed touched and grateful that the European Union still had the vision and foresight to remember its friends, partners and allies across the world,’’ he said. The President noted that the intervention, which is a collaboration between EU, its member states, and financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, would go a long way in ensuring the impact of this pandemic was controlled and contained.
He also commended EU on the recent launch of the “Team Europe” package to support countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. “Indeed, this brotherly support will save millions of lives. Nigeria, Africa and many beneficiary countries across the world will remain grateful for generations to come,’’ he said.