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Huge food donation from Nigeria ... for drought-stricken Namibia

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New Era
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WINDHOEK – The Federal Government of Nigeria last week donated 300 tonnes of rice, 700 tonnes of maize and three tonnes of fish fillets to Namibia as part of a food consignment to help drought-stricken families.

Namibia has yet to make an official appeal for drought assistance to the international donor community though it could yet face a devastating drought because of erratic rains in the current rainy season, which would end in April.

Speaking at the handing over of the drought relief, Nigeria High Commissioner to Namibia, Dr Biodun Olorunfeni, said it was no longer news that Namibia was hit by a devastating drought in 2013 which caused extensive damage to the ecology and the death of livestock due to the non-availability of grazing and lack of water.

“Disaster did not spare human beings as a number of Namibians in rural areas were classified as food insecure while the country recorded a number of deaths occasioned by the unavailability of food,” noted Olorunfeni. He said Nigerians stand united with the people of Namibia who have shown incredible resilience in surmounting the challenges posed by the drought that Namibia experienced during 2013.

He commended President Hifikepunye Pohamba for what he described as the government’s swift and timely response to the disaster. “The declaration of a state of national emergencyin Namibia due to the drought helped in ameliorating the effects of the drought as some international organisations and friendly countries came to render assistance in various forms,” he added.

Olorunfeni said it is on record that the Nigerian Government regards Namibia not only as a friendly and dependable ally but a brother who shares a common bond and history. “This explained why the government of Nigeria both before and after independence has continued to support the Namibian Government,” stressed the Nigerian high commissioner.

He cited an instance of this support being the continued deployment of technical volunteers in the fields of education mainly in mathematics, English and science, to Namibia since 1992 to assist in capacity building. The high commissioner also used the opportunity to congratulate President Pohamba on the success of the national elections held last year November and also for winning the Mo Ibrahim Award for his inspirational African leadership that came with a prize of N$58 million to be paid over 10 years and N$2.3 million paid annually for life thereafter.

“I also congratulate President-elect Dr Hage Geingob. I wish him a successful tenure of office,” he added. During the 1993 drought, Nigerian President Ibrahim Babaginda donated US$500 000 to the Namibian Government as drought relief which was used for the drilling of boreholes in different parts of the country.