By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for joint international efforts to tackle COVID-19, with spillovers into dwindling national economies that would require a global framework to ameliorate burden of struggling citizens, and re-ignite growth.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president spokesman in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said Buhari made the call at a ceremony to receive Letters of Credence from Ambassadors of Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Yanko Yordanou, and People’s Republic of China, Mr Cui Jianchun.
Other who presented their Letters of Credence included the High Commissioner of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Muhammad Tayyab Azan, Ambassadors of Republic of Turkey, Mr Hidayet Bayraktar and Ukraine, Valerii Kirdoda, at the State House.
The president said: “As you all settle down to your solemn duties to promote your respective national values and interests through your countries’ foreign policy on Nigeria, you should rest assured that the Federal Republic of Nigeria will engage you as we all strive to relate through effective cooperation and collaboration to enhance our collective interests.
“As we are all aware, the pre-COVID-19 era was already faced with the challenge of attaining sustainable development. Some countries were even faced with additional challenges like securing their territorial integrity against violent non-state actors.
“The unprecedented crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has now caused far more serious setbacks to our quests for sustainable development; hence the need for international cooperation and collaboration to fight the disease, as no country is immune from its devastating effects on lives and livelihoods.’’
The president stressed the need for greater unity of purpose and concerted efforts to address common challenges such as climate change, terrorism, insurgency, population growth, highlighting their catastrophic impacts and why the challenges cannot be underestimated.
“These challenges underscore the need for the international community to work even more in concert with each other to collectively identify appropriate ways and manners to globally resolve these challenges,’’ he added.
He said bilateral relations between Nigeria and each of the countries were most cordial, adding that: “We still need to enhance these fraternal ties between our nations.’’
Buhari welcomed the Ambassadors to Nigeria, urging them to build on the successes of their predecessors, while assuring the government would continue to support their mission in Nigeria.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to Abuja, Nigeria, marking the formal assumption of your diplomatic responsibilities to your various countries, following the presentation of Letters of Credence that has just been concluded.
“This age-long tradition and practice enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations marks the official commencement of your functions as Principal Representatives of your respective countries,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the envoys, Ambassador of Bulgaria extended deep gratitude and appreciation for the reception on arrival in the country and State House, bringing the goodwill of the Heads of State.
Yordanou expressed the desire of the countries to continue working with Nigeria, assuring that the partnerships at various levels would be of progress and prosperity. (