Obasanjo, ex-presidents urge fight against coronavirus

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other former Presidents in Africa have called for a concerted effort from all African countries to fight the spread of coronavirus in the continent.

The African leaders in a statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital through Obasanjo’s media assistant, Kehinde Akinyemi, appealed to leaders and elites at national, regional, and continental level, including international organisations and foundations to draw up a concrete, effective, and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 onslaught in Africa.

The statement was jointly signed by former Presidents: Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Thabo Mbeki (Former President of South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (Former President of South Africa), Benjamin Mkapa (Former President of Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (Former President of Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (Former President of Tunisia).

Others are: Festus Mogae (Former President of Botswana)

H.E Hailemariam Desalegn (Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia), John Kufour (Former President of Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Former President of Liberia), Joyce Banda (Former President of Malawi) and Joaquim Chissano (Former President of Mozambique).

The African leaders warned that, “with porous borders all over Africa, national efforts will not be enough but regional and continental” to combat the pandemic.

They particularly called on the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and G-20 to urgently have a plan that will moderate the social and economic effect of the onslaught of COVID-19 on Africa. 

The four paragraphed-statement, titled: Appeal for preparation for Africa to confront the onslaught of COVID -19  stated, “We, as concerned African leaders, note the efforts that African governments are making within their limited resources to deal with this global challenge.

“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation, and the communal living of our people, particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster. Serious measures have to be taken for containment and for addressing any national epidemic,” the statement indicated.

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