…Orders importation of 250 million test kits
…Raises N25 billion so far, request for more donors – Wigwe
By Peter Egwuatu
The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID-19) has concluded plans to distribute food items to at least 1.7 million vulnerable people in Nigeria to complement governments’ effort s in cushioning the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The Coalition also noted that N25 billion so far has been raised as it has placed order for 250 million test kits to be distributed across the country to boost the testing centres.
The Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, ADF, Zouera Youssoufou disclosed this on Monday at a press briefing in Lagos to intimate the public of what the Coalition headed by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr Albert Wigwe, Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc has been doing and about to do in the fight against COVID-19.
She said the CACOVID will continue to step up its complementary efforts toward freeing the nation from the coronavirus pandemic and is already looking at the issue of the post COVID-19.
She said : Following the devastating impact of the pandemic and the limited resources available to the government to tackle the health crisis, the private sector in the Nigeria decided to come together and set up the CACOVID-19 to assist the government to fight the virus.”
The body, which is led by Aliko Dangote, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation(ADF) and Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank, is also backed by Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) , MTN Nigeria , Flourmills Nigeria, Femi Otedola , Tony Elumelu, among others.
Speaking on the Coalition and its activities, Youssoufou, said it is the brainchild of Dangote and Wigwe who had started their separate initiatives to fight the virus but decided to involve more corporate bodies and individuals who are willing to ensure the pandemic is stamped out of the country.
Youssoufou said: ” the past weeks, the coalition has been working on how to better support the government in many areas and is working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) on building of isolation centres. The COCAVID has now decided distributes food items ranging from rice, garri, beans, noodles etc to reach about I.7 million who are in need. We call upon other Nigerians to join CACOVID in fighting this pandemic so that it will be better for us all.”
Commenting as well, Wigwe said : “ CACOVID-19 has equally been working with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) of the federal government to ensure that the government is supported to fight the COVID-19. CACOVID has realised about N25 billion and it has spent between N16 to N20 billion procuring various medical needs for the country to fight the pandemic.
In fact, various committees have been set up for better synergy and operations in order to ensure that better results are achieved and the needy gets the food items.”
He said: “Apart from helping to build isolation centres across the country the CACOVID will also assist in the training of medical personnel for speedy testing and procure more testing kits to ensure it is spread across the country. We want people to go out there for test wherever they are .Nigerians would be getting regular update on coalition’s activities as we seek for further funds. We would audit whatever we have gathered and make it public.”
Also speaking, the MTN Managing Director, Ferdi Moolman said : The pandemic we are seeing is real. We need to get together as a private to support the country in whatever way possible to tackle the effect of the pandemic .
Continuing, he said: “ It is now that the country has to work and ensure the necessary efforts are made to prevent the situation from worsening, hence the CACOVID-19 is supporting the federal government to achieve this.
“We should help ourselves as quickly as possible and be prepared and ready and let everybody to know that it is real. It involves everybody and it is a fight of our lives. So we must spread the news and tell people what to do and what not to do in the fight against this virus.”