The Presidents of West African countries under the aegis of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government have appointed President Muhammadu Buhari as Champion of the COVID-19 response.
President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, April 23, 2020, explained that the appointment took place at the Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit on COVID-19 which was held via teleconferencing.
The meeting was presided over by the President of the Republic of Niger and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Mahamadou Issoufou.
President Buhari, during the teleconference, called on fellow ECOWAS Leaders to look beyond the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and tap into various opportunities it has presented for the betterment of lives in member States.
The President added that: “Our region must, therefore, seek to find those opportunities provided by this gloomy global outlook for its benefit by embarking on the implementation of such critical policies, which before now, will be difficult to accept.”
He called on his colleagues to intensify collaboration in order to save the region from the pandemic by sharing their experiences and best practices, outlining some measures taken by his Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include the reduction of interest rates on all applicable Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) interventions from nine to five per cent and introduction of a one-year moratorium on CBN intervention facilities, as well as the inauguration of the Presidential Task Force to coordinate National efforts to combat the spread of the virus and ensure efficiency and effectiveness in line with the Nigerian Action Plan on Health Security.
Other measures, according to President Buhari, are provision of relief materials, including medical and food supplies, as well as conditional cash transfers of ₦20,000 each for poor and vulnerable households; and the establishment of more isolation centres and testing facilities to contain the spread of the disease.