By G9ija

President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the need for the international community to collectively confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other common challenges affecting humanity.

While receiving Letters of Credence from the new Ambassadors of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Argentina at the Presidential Villa, yesterday, Buhari declared: “We have common challenges that impact so much on our countries, which include terrorism, insurgency, climate change, population explosion, human trafficking, corruption, poverty, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons. On top of all these, the second wave of COVID-19 has come with different strains that pose additional challenge to the initial outbreak.

“These challenges underscore the need for the international community to work even more in concert to collectively identify appropriate ways to globally resolve these challenges.”

The envoys, who presented their letters, are: Mr. Ihab Moustafa (Egypt), Mr. Faisal Alghamdi (Saudi Arabia) and Mr. Alejandro Herrero (Argentina). Buhari reiterated Nigeria’s readiness to work with them to achieve global peace, food security and sustainable environment.

Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has called on the Northern traditional leaders to use their positions to promote the COVID-19 vaccination and adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions among their subjects.

He warned that COVID-19 vaccination might become a precondition for travelling abroad, adding that once most of the countries had vaccinated a certain proportion of their people, they would emplace policies that would make it mandatory for people to present evidence of COVID-19 vaccination before entry would be granted.

Addressing the First Quarter meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Council (NTLC) yesterday in Abuja, Mustapha, who noted a trust deficit in the country, affirmed the reality of COVID-19.

The SGF told the traditional leaders that “the virus is no respecter of persons,” affected every strata of society, including the traditional institution. He added: “This is why we must come together as one people with one voice to use our influence to promote both the non-pharmaceutical preventive measures and vaccination. Traditional rulers are revered in our society; it is important that we leverage this divine influence to instil in our people the sense of taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones by wearing facemasks, observing hand hygiene and physical distancing, and unnecessary travels.

“A lot of misinformation about COVID-19 is currently being circulated through various mass and traditional channels. Traditional leaders, who are custodians of the people’s culture and values, must be very discerning to guide our people aright. Please, endeavour to verify any information that you cannot link to any credible source.”