Bamako — Nigeria yesterday in Bamako handed over a total of 1010 tons of assorted relief materials to Malian government in aid for internally displaced persons and those in need in northern Mali as a result of ongoing armed conflict in the region.
This is besides the deployment of Nigerian troops to participate in the ongoing military support mission in the country.
The relief items, which were presented in the presence of officials of the National Emergency Relief Agency (NEMA) from Nigeria led by its director of search and rescue Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, comprised foods, clothing, hygienic materials and household utilities.
The items included 1500 bags of millet, 2241 bags of guinea corn and 1278 bags of maize, 1000 cartons of macaroni, 500 cartons of spaghetti, 1000 cartons of tomato puree, 1000 bags of rice, 2000 cartons of couscous and 2000 bags of semovita.
Others are sugar, beverages, vegetable oil, women and children clothing, mosquito nets, cooking pots, plastic buckets, mattresses, mats and many other household items.
Nigeria's Ambassador to Mali Mr Iliya Ali Nuhu, who presented the items to Malian minister of humanitarian affairs Mamadou Sidibe in a brief but colourful ceremony at Nigerian Embassy in Bamako, said the donation was in fulfilment of President Goodluck Jonathan's earlier pledge to assist Mali in this trying period.
Ambassador Nuhu said the humanitarian gesture was in line with mutual cooperation and the friendly relations between the two countries, saying the gesture also demonstrates collective solidarity towards sustaining peace and stability in the West African sub-region.
The envoy expressed hope that the gesture will also help in assisting the victims and assured that Nigerian government and its people are always willing to assist people of Mali in the spirit of African brotherhood.
Receiving the items, Malian minister of humanitarian affairs Mamadou Sidibe described the gesture as timely, and therefore thanked people and government of Nigeria for the humanitarian effort which he said will further strengthen the existing ties between the two countries.
"Our country and people indeed appreciate Nigeria's participation in the ongoing military support mission in northern Mali and we shall remain grateful for this gesture", he said.
The minister, who assured that the relief items will be delivered to the victims in a few days time, said Mali urgently needs humanitarian assistance following the closure of Mauritanian and Algerian borders because of the ongoing armed conflict in northern Mali.
NEMA's director for search and rescue Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, who spoke on behalf of the agency's director general Alhaji Muhammadu Sani Sidi, commiserated with government and people of Mali in this "challenging period of their national history".
"As Africans our common geography, cultural affiliation and historic experience imply that the challenges of one nation will always have a quick repercussion on the other just as the growth and development of one country will create positive impacts on its neighbours", he said.