The rapid rise in confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria demands more collective, decisive, coordinated and inclusive action in the fight against the virus. Now is the time for government, private sector and well-meaning individuals to come together to flatten the curve.
In light of this, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) on Monday, 06 July 2020, redeemed its pledge of Sixty Million Naira to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC) with the donation of ambulance and Twenty Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira cash to the committee. The CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led initiative set up to stimulate the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The donation was received by the Chairman, CMSCC, Mr. Ariyo Olushekun and the Director, Lagos Zonal Office, SEC, Mr. Steven Falomo.
In furtherance of its commitment to support the fight against the virus, The Exchange launched the Masks For All Nigerians campaign with the aim to galvanize responsible corporate citizens and individuals to donate 400 million face masks to Nigerians, especially low-income households. The NSE kicked off the campaign with an anchor donation of 100,000 face masks that are being distributed in areas where it has operations and areas that are greatly affected by COVID-19.
As part of the Masks For All Nigerians campaign, The Exchange executed a nationwide awareness campaign on social media and radio to educate Nigerians on the need to wear face masks, practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene. The NSE also involved its Good Cause Ambassador, Innocent ‘TuFace’ Idibia, to amplify the need for Nigerians to wear and donate face masks via www.masksforallng.com, as well as adhere to the guidelines put in place to keep our communities safe. As part of its Employee Giveback Programme, members of staff are also donating 500 masks per week to Nigerians.
Speaking on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON said, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis that requires us to adopt a more collaborative approach in fighting this pandemic especially as economic activity and social interactions resume. As we work to encourage the use of reusable face masks and adherence to other safety guidelines, we call on responsible corporate citizens and well-meaning individuals to support this initiative by wearing a mask when in public settings and donating masks especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid so as to protect lives.”
In response to the call, several private sector players have sprung to action bringing the total number of masks donated under the Masks for All Nigerians campaign to 216,300. Opay was the first to partner with a donation of 100,000 face masks to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on Thursday, 4 June 2020. Also, Morbod Group donated 13,000 masks to residents of Lagos and South-Eastern part of Nigeria. The two most recent donors are Babalakin & Co Legal Practitioners and AIICO Insurance who donated 1,300 non-medical face masks to the Ikoyi Custodial Centre, Nigerian Correctional Service and 2,000 non-medical face masks to the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Lagos State Branch, respectively. AIICO Insurance has also made a commitment to donate another 7,000 face masks.
In fulfilling its commitment to donate 100,000 face masks, The Exchange will distribute 33,000 face masks in Lagos; 7,000 in Oyo; 5,000 in Ogun; 5,500 in Anambra; 5,500 in Rivers; 3,800 in Edo; 14,500 in Abuja; 18,000 in Kano; 3,900 in Borno; 3,800 in Kaduna; and 10,000 to capital market stakeholders.
The Exchange has displayed remarkable resilience during this pandemic and continues to support the fight against COVID-19 in line with the strategic pillars of its Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) strategy – community, workplace, marketplace and environment. The Masks For All Nigerians campaign and the attendant mask donation will provide immense support to the Government in reaching communities who have hitherto been left vulnerable. The Exchange also continues to sustain market activity through remote working and trading; promote market deepening activities; create an enabling regulatory environment for stakeholders; and recognise the efforts of public and private sector players in raising awareness, ramping up testing and increasing the capacity of the health sector to slow the spread of COVID-19.