The Nigerian Government on Tuesday in Maputo pledged to assist in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Mozambique, which was recently hit by a tropical disaster, Cyclone Idai.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the pledge when he handed over relief items to Antonio Tchamo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Civil Servants of Mozambique, in Maputo.
Onyeama, who is leading a Federal Government delegation to deliver relief materials to the Southern African countries of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbawe, said the gesture was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at alleviating the sufferings of the people affected by the disaster.
The minister disclosed that the government of Nigeria had asked him to deliver more than 8,000 medical items, 35 tonnes of other relief materials and $500,000 to the government of Mozambique.
He said the measure was a show of brotherhood and solidarity to the people of Mozambique in their trying time.
Onyeama recalled that during the struggle against apartheid and the dark days that followed, Nigeria was considered a front line state in the struggle for independence, though geographically, it was not in southern Africa.
He said: “Whatever happens to any country in Africa, our pan-African sentiment is always with them.
“We will be with you at every step of the way towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction process that will now take place.
“On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will like to express our deep sympathy to the government and people of Mozambique for the very tragic loss of lives and properties, as well as injuries caused by the hurricane.
“The people of Mozambique at this time are very much in our thoughts and prayers.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has personally charged me to lead a delegation here to deliver to you some relief items and support.
“We hope that the relief and cash will go a long way to reduce the suffering of victims of the disaster.”
Responding, Tchamo said 603 deaths were recorded and no fewer than 1.6 million people had been displaced following the disaster.
The Mozambique official added that 16,200 people also sustained various degrees of injuries.
He thanked the Nigerian Government for the donation and described it as a show of solidarity and brotherhood.
He said: “We never doubt your solidarity and brotherhood since the time of struggle against colonialism.
“It is in the difficult moments that we know who is with us.
“On behalf of the government and people of Mozambique, we will like to thank the government of Nigeria for this gesture.
“This moment is going to be recorded in our history and heart.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Onyeama, after the presentation of the relief items Maputo, proceeded to Zimbabwe for the final leg of the presidential assignment.