UPDATED: ED hails Nigeria for Idai help President Mnangagwa welcomes Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Geoffrey Onyeama at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for the support it rendered following Cyclone Idai that left many people dead, hundreds missing and property destroyed in parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and the Midlands provinces two months ago.

Nigeria sent in a planeload of medicines and an assortment of goods to be distributed to the affected communities. With the donation, Nigeria joined many other countries in the region and beyond that have rendered assistance in various ways to help the country recover from the effects of the deadly storm.

President Mnangagwa said he was overwhelmed by Nigeria’s gesture saying it was demonstrative of the cordial relations between the two countries.

He said this while addressing journalists after a meeting with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama at State House.

Mr Onyeama had come to deliver President Muhammadu Buhari’s message of sympathy to President Mnangagwa following the cyclone tragedy.

President Mnangagwa said the gesture showed that Nigeria was touched by the tragedy that befell the country and decided to give a helping hand.

“The people of Nigeria and its leadership have realised that our brothers and sisters here were visited by Cyclone Idai and in their compassion have sent us a plane-load of medicines and other material to give to people in that area, Chimanimani and Chipinge, who have suffered a devastating event,” he said.

“To the people of Nigeria, I say the people of Zimbabwe are extremely happy and grateful to the support you have given to our people under the circumstances now.”

President Mnangagwa said Nigeria has also rendered assistance to Malawi and to Mozambique that have also been affected by the deadliest storm in the history of the Southern Africa region.

The cyclone made landfall the night of March 14, near the Mozambican port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains, before moving inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing about 1 000 people across the three countries.

Chimanimani was hardest hit in the country. Entire villages were submerged and schools, clinics and bridges were destroyed.

Mr Onyeama said he had come to Zimbabwe to deliver from President Buhari a message of sympathy to President Mnangagwa over the cyclone devastation.

“I am very humbled to be received by his Excellency the President and had excellent talks,” he said.

“Of course I had come to deliver from President Buhari his sympathy of the Nigerian people to His Excellency and the people of Zimbabwe over the cyclone and the devastation and tragedy that befell this country.

“It was a manifestation of the fraternity and solidarity between our people and our two countries.”

President Mnangagwa also took the opportunity of the visit by Mr Onyeama to congratulate his counterpart, Mr Buhari, for winning the general elections held in that country recently.

“I am happy that my colleague and brother won the elections, which happened in Nigeria recently,” he said. “We are happy that he has come back again as the leader of Nigeria. The people of Nigeria again felt that they needed his leadership.”

President Buhari was re-elected for a second four-year term after defeating his main rival, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, with a margin of nearly four million votes. His inauguration has been set for May 29.

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