President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, acknowledged the resilient spirit of Nigerians in the journey leading to the eventual certification of the country as Wild Polio Virus-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He, particularly, expressed delight in the capacity of the nation’s health professionals, who relentlessly mobilised resources from diverse sectors, to conquer the deadly disease.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President equally appreciated local and foreign partners as well as traditional and religious leaders for their contributions.
He noted: “This achievement is not only one of the great successes of this generation of Nigerians, but also one of the obvious dividends of this administration, which is consistent with our progressive investment in the health of our people since 2015.
“This landmark achievement is also a promise kept to all Nigerians. As you will recall that in August 2015, barely three months after we assumed office, I promised Nigerians that My government shall provide the necessary resources and commitment required to strengthen the health system for routine immunisation and ensure that the country is certified polio-free.”
Buhari recalled that in 2016, the country suffered a major setback in its eradication efforts with the outbreak of the Wild Polio Virus in Borno State, prompting him to authorise the immediate release of N9.8 billion to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to contain the epidemic.
In the interim, the Nigerian leader has warned that the quest to adopt the Eco as a common currency for the West Africa sub-region could be a misadventure except ECOWAS member states comply with the processes and commitments that led to the birth of the initiative.
He also articulated his fears over the decision of francophone nations, under the auspices of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), to ‘hastily’ replace the CFA Franc with the Eco.
Buhari spoke while delivering Nigeria’s position on the proposed legal tender at a virtual extraordinary meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
The forum discussed the implementation of the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme (EMCP) and the ECOWAS Single Currency Agenda. Assuring the sub-regional leaders of the zeal of the most populous black national to the actualsation of the single currency, the Nigerian first citizen, however, urged them to critically consider the recommendations of the Convergence Council with a view to safeguarding the zone.
He affirmed the nation’s support for a monetary union with the right fundamentals that guarantee credibility, sustainability and overall regional prosperity and sovereignty.
Besides, the President has directed state and federal authorities to provide assistance to victims of the Oba Market inferno in Benin City, Edo State. Buhari, in addition, ordered an investigation into the incident to avert future recurrence. In a statement, he said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their shops and wares.”