Buhari insists on verification before using Madagascan herbal drugs

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By Muideen Olaniyi

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received the Madagascan herbal drug for COVID-19, while reiterating his insistence to comply with scientific verification before allowing traditional or any new medicine to be administered on Nigerians.

He said his position on all such herbal or traditional medicines remained the same. Despite opposition from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the president of Madagascar has instructed that the country’s herbal drug, COVID-Organics (CVO), be used to treat its citizens who contract the virus.

Health workers in Nigeria including pharmacists, nurses and medical laboratory scientists and the House of Representatives have kicked against any plan to import it from Madagascar.

The federal government however said it did not beg Madagascar to supply the syrup to Nigeria, explaining that the country donated the elixir which was accepted in the spirit of African brotherhood.

The chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, dismissed speculations that Nigeria might have asked Madagascar for a supply of its COVID-19 organic, instead of promoting local researchers for a cure.

He said: “The issue of Madagascar. Let me explain that Nigeria did not ask Madagascar for any solution. That has to be very clear because I have seen some narratives out there giving credence to a line of story. “That, for me, is only distractive. Nigeria did not ask. The Madagascan government decided to airlift quantities meant for African countries and so that of West Africa was airlifted to Guinea-Bissau. So, all the members of ECOWAS have their commodities off-loaded in Guinea-Bissau and that was the one I referred to, that we were making arrangements to evacuate,” he said.

President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau yesterday brought along with him samples of the traditional medicine as shared to African nations by Madagascar during a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. “We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country.

Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification. I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,”

Buhari said in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu. President Embalo, who spoke on the motive behind the visit, said having stabilized his country after the tussles that attended the general elections he won, he had come to seek counsel from his “father,” President Buhari, on his plan for a “government of national unity” and a proposed war against corruption in his country.

He also said his new government met a country beset with a number of issues and problems, the resolution of which would require tremendous assistance from the “big brother,” Nigeria. “Problems of Guinea Bissau are problems of Nigeria. I have come to you as your son. I need your help and assistance to make the people happy. I will not let you down, neither will I put you in any difficult situation,” Embalo said.

President Buhari lauded his confirmation as president and for stabilizing the country. “I commend your political dexterity in getting the opposition to join the proposed unity government,” he said. He renewed the determination of Nigeria to keep West Africa politically stable and promised to support the new government in Guinea Bissau, saying, “I will cooperate and help in every way possible.” He hailed the good work that the President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, who is the current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is doing in the sub-region.

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