By Olumide Ajayi
The federal government of Nigeria has donated $500,000 to Mozambique to assist in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country, which was recently hit by a tropical disaster, Cyclone Idai.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of foreign affairs, disclosed this when he handed over relief items to Antonio Tchamo, 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 aside the $500,000, the government of Nigeria also asked him to also deliver more than 8,000 medical items and 35 tonnes of other relief materials.
He said the measure was a show of brotherhood and solidarity to the people of Mozambique during 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.
“Whatever happens to any country in Africa, our Pan African sentiment is always with them,” he said.
“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 that 603 deaths were recorded and at least 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.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
According to NAN, Onyeama, after the presentation of the relief items Maputo, proceeded to Zimbabwe for the final leg of the “presidential assignment”.