By Ismaila Chafe
ECOWAS leaders on Thursday appointed President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the battle against the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the sub-region.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of the extraordinary summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa States.
NAN reports that the summit was convened by the regional leaders to deliberate on the COVID-19 pandemic which has continued to ravage humanity worldwide.
Adesina stated that the regional leaders discussed the challenges posed by COVID-19 and how best to tackle the deadly virus.
“The West African leaders discussed how to tackle the period of COVID-19 and what to do post-COVID-19.
“Now, at the end of it all, it was decided that there should a champion who would lead the response of the sub-region and that champion is President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.
“So, our president is going to lead the response of West Africa to the challenge of COVID-19,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the ECOWAS and President of Niger Republic, Alhaji Mahamadou Issoufou, had during the opening of the summit raised alarm over the devastating effects of the deadly virus on human and economies of the member-states.
He, therefore, for called for collaborative efforts among the member-states to combat the pandemic, which he said had already claimed many lives in the region and beyond.
The Nigerien president, who spoke in French language, also advocated for total debts cancellation for African countries to enable the African continent to survive the post-coronavirus era.
While commending the World Bank and Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for their contributions so far towards fighting the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, Issoufou urged the two financial institutions to do more for the African continent so as to save more lives.
NAN reports that about 13 ECOWAS leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, are participating in the teleconference as at the time of filing this report.
NAN reports that President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Embalo also participated in the ECOWAS summit for the first time since he assumed the mantle of leadership of his country in February.