It is often said that “friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together”. This has been evidenced in the continuous support the European Union has provided Nigeria over the years; especially in these trying moments of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
In its Covid-19 pandemic support, the EU recently announced a N21 billion contribution to support Nigeria’s national response to the crisis, channeled through the UN Covid-19 Basket Fund. The EU also assisted the UNICEF to procure vital health supplies which include test kits, oxygen concentrators, personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines, and other vital items, to aid in the provision of care for infected persons while containing further spread of the virus in the country.
In the last few days, the EU in collaboration with local authorities in the Federal Capital Territory, distributed basic food items and installed public sanitation facilities, to the tune of N40million, providing for 2,157 vulnerable households in pre-selected suburbs in Abuja. Beneficial’s includes People with Disabilities (PWD), female heads of households and widows as well as other vulnerable households whose livelihoods have been impacted by the lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel Covid-19.
Speaking during the food distribution exercise, the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Amb. Ketil Karlsen, noted that focus was on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable because such people pay the highest price when the economies are struggling.
‘Big and small efforts need to go hand in hand here. Of course, we have already provided very significant support for the national response but we also need to convert words into action and see things happening on the ground immediately,’ Amb. Karlsen stated.
The E.U. has stepped up its humanitarian support since 2014, to the most vulnerable displaced people and communities in Nigeria, as well as refugees in other countries affected by the conflict in Nigeria, having funded close to €271.5 million (N116 billion) in emergency food aid, shelter, access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation, and basic primary healthcare including the first emergency aid package of €26.5 million for 2020.
Activities of the EU in Nigeria drive home the point that EU-Nigeria relations go beyond development cooperation.