The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, has said he was not aware of any cost paid for the Madagascar herb solution.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja while answering questions at the 34th joint national briefing of the taskforce.
Mustapha was responding to a question on reports that Nigeria had been asked to pay €170,000 as cost for the Madagascar solution, which was delivered to President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday by the visiting President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
The SGF however, said he had taken delivery of the solution, which he said was sent to Nigeria, as well as other African countries by the Government of Madagascar, without request, and that he was not handed an invoice, which would have indicated if there was a cost.
“In terms of the question of whether it comes with a cost. It was handed to me without an invoice so I assume it doesn’t come with a cost. That’s my assumption. For that, I think the Madagascar issue and the Chinese issue should be laid to rest.
“I think we have said repeatedly hear that we did not ask for the Madagascar consignment, it was given by the government of Madagascar to African countries as their contribution to wanting to find solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have repeatedly said our consignment and those of West African countries, was dropped off at Guinea Bissau and that we were making arrangements to go and airlift it.
“As God would have it, the President of Guinea Bissau decided to visit our President last Saturday and when he was coming, he came with our consignment of five cartons and those five cartons were delivered to me yesterday in the evening, sealed, without a bottle out of it.
“I am going to engage the Minister of Health who has the responsibility of validation, through his institutions that are chartered by law to do that. The President was upfront with that even when he took delivery of it from the President of Guinea Bissau. He said it quite clearly of what we are going to do with the consignment would be guided by science, under the processes of validation, we’ll now know where to go”, Mustapha said.
He also urged Nigerians to learn what he described as the biggest lesson the COVID-19 pandemic had foisted on humanity, which he said was the fact that it had exposed the weaknesses in all systems of the world, even of the so-called superpowers.
He said, “It would be a mistake for Nigerians to desire to go back to their old ways. If we do not learn anything from COVID-19 and build institutions that will be enduring and sustainable, we would have failed the next generation.
“Life after COVID-19 will not be our normal type of life again. COVID-19 has come and it has disrupted everything you know as normal and the benefit of that distraction is that we will begin to put on our thinking cap and begin to address issues differently because it has exposed the weaknesses in all systems.
“It is not only the Nigeria system that has been exposed, even the big countries with very big economies, COVID-19 has exposed every gap in their systems; their system of health, their social safety nets, their governance issues have all been disrupted and I can assure you that after COVID-19, at the individual level, at the community level, at the state level, at the national level, we will begin to do things differently. It cannot be business as usual again.”