As Ramaphosa visits Buhari: Nigeria announces 3 Omicron COVID-19 cases




President Muhammadu Buhari has described the state visit of President Cryil Ramaphosa of South Africa as successful despite the scare generated by the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

And while the South African leader was visiting, the Nigerian authority announced three new cases of the variant and 105 COVID-19 cases.  

Speaking at a joint press conference with the visiting South African president Wednesday, President Buhari said new Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Nigeria and South Africa in diverse areas were signed, while existing ones were reviewed for the progress and prosperity of citizens of both countries.

”We have now come to the end of a very successful State Visit and the 10th session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission.

Despite the scare generated by the new COVID-19 variant, we have been able to hold successful meetings, while observing strict COVID-19 protocols, through fraternal cooperation and understanding.

”I sincerely wish to thank my brother and colleague, President Cyril Ramaphosa for honouring my invitation. I equally wish to thank members of the South African delegation and the experts that worked tirelessly during the Senior Officials Meeting.

”Today, has witnessed the signing of new Memoranda of Understanding between Nigeria and South Africa in diverse areas including Youth Development, Women and Child Empowerment and Political Consultations; critical areas that will lead to increased people to people contact.

”Also, existing MOUs signed during previous Bi-National Commission meetings were also reviewed. These include MOUs on Military Cooperation, Power, Cooperation in the field of Geology, Mining, and Mineral Processing, Oil and Gas and several others.

”Today, we also jointly launched the Nigeria-South Africa Youth Dialogue, another veritable tool for interaction among our youth with the aim of creating shared values and aspiration. Many of our youth, from Nigeria and South Africa joined us virtually during the launch,” he said.

President Buhari thanked his colleague for initiating the Youth Dialogue, noting that continuous interaction between the youth of the two countries would further break barriers and suspicion among our people.

He added that the inauguration of the Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, would enable the private sectors of the two largest economies in Africa to further promote economic cooperation and development.

”We appreciate that we need to do much more to achieve further integration of our two economies and take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

”Once again, I wish to thank my brother President and members of the South African delegation for their visit and their wonderful friendship, cooperation and solidarity,” he said.

Ramaphosa

In his remarks, President Ramaphosa thanked the leaders of Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal for expressing their dissatisfaction with the travel ban imposed on South Africa and sister neighbouring countries in the aftermath of the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant by South African scientists. 

He described the imposition of the ban by some western countries as arbitrary, discriminatory, unscientific and unproductive in the long run.  

”This is a global pandemic and overcoming it requires that we collaborate and work together as a collective.

”The resulting damage to this travel ban to the economies of the countries affected will be considerable and long lasting.

”So I want to use this opportunity to tell the countries that have imposed this ban to reverse their decisions whether they are the northern more developed economies or in other parts of our continent or elsewhere,” he said.

 3 Omicron variant, 105 COVID-19 cases  

Meanwhile, The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Wednesday announced fresh 105 COVID-19 infections just as Nigeria joined the growing list of countries that have recorded the new Omicron variant with the detection of 3 cases in the country.

The agency stated this in its daily report in Abuja.

The 105 additional cases, NCDC said, is an increase from the 21 cases reported in the country the previous day, warning that Nigeria was at the risk of registering high incidences of the new variant due to neglect of preventive measures at airports and other points of entry in the country.

The latest additional cases which were recorded in 8 states and the FCT, showed the country now had a total of 214,218 COVID-19 confirmed cases.

It listed the states that recorded the new COVID-19 cases to include Lagos (43), Gombe (21), FCT (16), Niger (10), Rivers (6), Plateau (5), Edo (2), Bauchi (1), and Kano (1).

The NCDC said 12 people had recovered from the infection as at Tuesday, while the total number of discharged cases now stood at 207,304 nationwide.

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