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Buhari applauds CACOVID for interventions, donation of 350 security vehicles

L-R: Mr. Godwin Emefiele; Governor of CBN; Mr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director of Access Holdings; and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of ADF, Making CACOVID's Symbolic Presentation of 130 Security Vehicles to President Muhammadu Buhari (r), in the State House, Abuja, FCT Photo: Dangote Group

*President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has received much support from the Nigerian private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 in addressing social ills, acknowledging that CACOVID’s interventions have elevated his status among counterparts across the world

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) winds down, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the initiative of private sector operators.

ConsumerConnect reports Buhari, stated this Tuesday 21, 2023, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT, while receiving a parting donation of N12 billion security equipment for the Military and the Nigeria Police from the leadership of CACOVID.

He also disclosed the Coalition’s contributions received thus far had elevated his status among other Presidents in the world.

Buhari further said that his administration had received so much support from the private sector in addressing social ills in the country.

Coalition donates equipment to Military, Police

Among other items the CACOVID members handed over to the President are 100 Tata 14 tonne Troop carriers, 100 Tata 12 tonne Troop carriers, 86 Toyota pick-up trucks, 64 Nissan Navara pick-up trucks with their spare parts, 13,000 helmets as well as 13,000 bullet proof vests.

It is recalled that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also rated CACOVID as the third largest contributor to the fight against COVID-19 virus in the world.

The outbreak of the damaging Coronavirus late 2019 practically, had brought the world to its knees.

Presidential appreciation to CACOVID members

In expressing gratitude to the Coalition, excited Buhari while commending the team on behalf of the country’s Military and the Police, said: “Today (Tuesday) is indeed, a very happy day for all Nigerians, and I can happily say that I am the envy of many Presidents in the world.

“I am exceedingly honoured to be the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at this time.”

The President stated: “I am gratified to have the honour of leading a country whose private sector willingly galvanises itself to raise funds to enthusiastically support government in resolving social ills.

“I am proud to say that there is nowhere in the entire world, except in Nigeria, where the private sector has voluntarily come together to assist government efforts.

“Thank you for supporting our Administration’s efforts to strengthen the Police and Military as we face the security challenges that all modern nations face.”

He further noted that such a patriotic gesture was a proof that nationalistic determination is still alive in Nigeria, in the face of enormous challenges pervading the West African country, and the global world.

How Coalition provides response support to Federal Government  -Aliko Dangote

Speaking while handing over the items at the event in Abuja, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a foremost industrialist and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), who initiated the Coalition with Mr. Herbert Wigwe, then Group Managing Director (GMD) of Access Bank Plc, explained that the Coalition was winding down with the latest donation to the Nigerian Government.

Dangote mentioned other business leaders brought together under CACOVID to include Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, Mr. Tony Elumelu, Mr. Jim Ovia, Mr. Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Mr. Femi Otedola, Adesola Adedotun, Mr. Karl Toriola, Haresh Aswani, Raj Gupta, and John Coumantaros.

According to him, all of these individuals contributed several billions of Naira each and supported the CACOVID effort with advocacy in the country.

Dangote noted in all, over 100 organisations and private individuals contributed to CACOVID to to address the public health change in the last few years.

The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group as well recalled reason for the donation at the time.

He disclosed that as the worst of the Covid crisis waned in Nigeria, the security situation deteriorated, partly due to economic disruptions caused by the shutdown of the global and national economy.

Therefore, to provide additional response support to the Government, the ADF Chairman also said CACOVID embarked on another fundraising effort.

He stated that, again, enabled the Coalition to purchase the items for use of the Nigeria Police and the Military.

Why CACOVID was established in Nigeria

Recalling the birth of CACOVID in the country in the thick of the Coronavirus, Dangote further explained that the Coalition was a timely response to the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

He said it was borne out of the previous experience with Ebola elsewhere in West Africa, which made him to recognise the fact that the potential crisis looming was very serious.

Dangote recalled: “And so together with Herbert Wigwe, we set up CACOVID and drafted our peers in the private sector to join our efforts.

“The CBN Governor joined our efforts very early and chaired the group.”

The CACOVID Chairman noted: “We knew straight away that we had a responsibility to act and support the efforts of Government as quickly as possible to avert disaster.  “In addition to the leadership team, we set up a technical committee to guide our purchasing decisions, which was critical, given the prevailing confusion around testing and treatment options, and the lack of successful models anywhere in the world.”

He said that members of that committee also included leading Nigerian scientists and public health professionals, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Director-General of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, representatives of World Health Organisation (WHO), BMGF and the United Nations (UN).

“In addition, a core team of select staff members from our organisations manned the initiative’s Operations Centre 7 days a week for several months planning, coordinating, and delivering on the various activities of the coalition,” stated Dangote.

While enumerating all the supports the Coalition has offered Nigeria in the last two years, Dangote disclosed that the private sector-led group mobilised its members and raised N62 billion to provide 39 fully kitted isolation centers in all 36 States and FCT; Testing Supplies for almost 1 million tests; Food for 10 million vulnerable individuals across the country.

Others, he noted, included oxygen and tanks to the most affected states; support for COVID-19 vaccines delivery and distribution across the country; support to re-open the economy (Travel Portal, IT, airport scanners/PPE, and other support) with communications and advocacy campaigns around prevention and against disinformation.

According to Dangote, Tuesday’s donation to the country marked the end of the CACOVID initiative, “as we wind down what has been deemed an example of patriotism, solidarity and efficiency in terms of partnership between the public and private sectors.”

The Chairman said: “This is a lesson in the power of collaboration for a worthy cause.

“Thank you to my partners on this CACOVID journey. I would like to especially thank the Presidential Covid-19 team led by SGF Mr. Boss Mustapha for their excellent collaboration.

“My gratitude goes to Mr. President for your unwavering support and that of your entire Government.”

Nationalist, patriotic drive of CACOVID members commendable, unmatched: Emefiele, Governor of CBN

Commenting on the activities of CACOVID in the country in the past years, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, who led the CACOVID Committee, told President Buhari, that he was proud to be part of the Coalition that also supported government in its fight against insecurity.

Emefiele also stated: “I am immensely gratified by what CACOVID has achieved in its few years of existence.

“The nationalist and patriotic drive of my colleagues therein is unmatched anywhere in the world and must be applauded.”

He as well said: “The Coalition is a good example of what Nigeria must become:  a nation of patriotic solidarity of individuals and corporations, and effective collaboration of the public and private sectors.”

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