The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID, deserve a pat on the back for their untiring efforts to help Nigerians cope with the tough challenges posed by the two most profound disasters that have faced the country this most unusual year.
On March 30, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of the 36 states had to invoke the Quarantine Law to force the citizenry into a national lock-down that lasted five to six weeks. The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, mobilised the Bankers’ Committee and other corporate and business leaders to form the CACOVID and raise billions of naira to procure medical and nutritional palliatives for the most vulnerable Nigerians.
As the lock-down ended and most businesses emerged debilitated, the CBN and CACOVID pledged N50 billion worth of packages towards helping tottering small and medium business back to life.
To worsen matters, the #EndSARS peaceful protests, which erupted in October shortly after the independence celebrations, dissolved into an explosive anarchy after some soldiers and thugs reportedly attacked unarmed protesters in Lekki and Abuja. Hoodlums took over and torched several police stations around the county and engaged in an orgy of burning and looting. Many innocent business owners lost their hard-earned means of livelihood.
The combined effects of these earth-shaking events plunged the Nigerian economy into its second recession in five years.
It is very heart-warming and reassuring that the CBN, mobilising CACOVID, has again come to the rescue. On Wednesday, November 25, 2020 CBN Governor Emefiele, on behalf of CACOVID, announced an ambitious plan to rehabilitate no less than 44 burnt police stations and purchase security gadgets worth N100 billion. CACOVID also unveiled a N150 billion technical and vocational education development programme aimed at empowering about four million Nigerian youth within the next five years.
According to the Coalition: “Selected (beneficiaries) on conclusion of the programme will be certified by the appropriate standard board and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits”.
We applaud the CBN and the CACOVID for these patriotic responses to the needs of Nigerians. We are happy that the federal and state governments have not been left to shoulder the burden alone, and that the common people, especially the youth, have not been abandoned to their fate.
This is an elevated example of corporate social responsibility; an act of giving back to the same populace from which the wealthy people in our society derived their wealth. These measures, if strictly implemented, will improve our security system and equip the youth with the capacity to be gainfully employed and the skills to build a prosperous economy.
Posterity will not forget the patriotic response of the CBN and CACOVID when Nigerians needed them most.