By Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos) and Joseph Wantu (Makurdi)
Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), yesterday, commenced nationwide distribution of palliatives and other relief items worth N23b to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable Nigerians.
It explained that the relief materials would be distributed to 1.7m households and over 10m individuals in the 774 council areas and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
CACOVID Administrator and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Zouera Youssoufou, told journalists in Lagos that the exercise was the next line of action to partner government in the fight against coronavirus and cushion its impact on vulnerable persons in the country.
She disclosed that the coalition shared the country into the six geo-political zones and that the distribution commenced simultaneously in Adamawa, Yobe, Ekiti, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa states.
The Guardian recalled that the distribution of the palliatives followed CACOVID’s donation of medical equipment to state governments in a bid to strengthen their response capacity and building of isolation facilities in about 38 centres across the country, for which it spent about N15b.
CACOVID had also helped to reinforce the testing capacity of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with the donation of over 300,000 test kits and PPEs just as it announced its readiness to commence the third and final phase of its COVID-19 response plan.
Youssoufou disclosed that each benefiting family would receive various quantities of rice, pasta, garri, maize, semovita, noodles, salt and sugar, among other items.
She explained the rationale behind the involvement of private sector operators in the fight against COVID-19, saying the minimum the private sector could do as partners in nation building was to collaborate with government at all levels to help fight the pandemic and reduce the hardship on people.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, CACOVID has been committed to providing relief packages to the most vulnerable. Its primary focus is to assist the Federal Government in the fight against COVID-19,” she added,
SIMILARLY, Team Lead and representative of CACOVID, Mrs. Fanan Nduur, said the coalition boosted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC’s) capacity with the donation of over 100,000 test kits.
Nduur made the disclosure in Makurdi, during the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable persons in Benue State, saying the coalition had also distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the 36 states of the country and the FCT.
“It is common knowledge that cases of the virus have been widely reported across Nigeria. There is high risk of the virus spreading through much of the population, as has been witnessed in other countries globally with the attendant socio-economic and healthcare disruptions.
“lf we do not come together to fight for our nation, no one will. Today, the fight for survival has become a necessity and it is not just government’s responsibility, but our collective responsibility and we all must join the fight to stay alive,” she stressed.