The President, who spoke in Abuja yesterday while receiving a parting donation of N12 billion security equipment for the Military and the Nigeria Police from the leadership of CACOVID said his government had received so much support from the private sector in addressing social ills in the country.
Items handed over to the President by the Coalition members included 100 Tata 14-ton Troop carriers, 100 Tata 12-ton 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 would be recalled that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also rated CACOVID as the third largest contributor in the world to the fight against the Covid-19 virus, the outbreak of which in 2020 brought the world to its knees.
An excited President Buhari while thanking the CACOVID on behalf of the Military and the Police said: “Today 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 honored to be the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at this time.
“I am gratified to have the honor of leading a country whose private sector willingly galvanises itself to raise funds to enthusiastically support the 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”, Buhari added, noting that such a patriotic gesture was proof that nationalistic determination is still alive in Nigeria, in the face of enormous challenges pervading the world and the country.
He listed other business leaders brought together under CACOVID to include Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Femi Otedola, Adesola Adedotun, Karl Toriola, Haresh Aswani, Raj Gupta, and John Coumantaros, all of who contributed several billions of Naira each and supported the CACOVID effort with advocacy. In all, according to him, over 100 organisations and private individuals contributed to CACOVID.
Mr. Dangote gave reason for the donation saying 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 economies.
Therefore, to provide additional response support to the Government, the ADF Chairman said CACOVID embarked on another fundraising effort, which enabled it to purchase the items for the Police and the Military.
Recalling the birth of CACOVID, Dangote explained that the Coalition as a timely response to the outbreak of the deadly covid-19 virus was borne out of the previous experience with Ebola elsewhere in West Africa, which made him recognise the fact that the potential crisis looming was very serious
“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. We knew straight away that we had a responsibility to act and support the efforts of Government as quickly as possible to avert disaster”, Dangote noted.
Dangote continued; “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. Members of that committee included leading Nigerian scientists and public health professionals, the DG of NCDC, DG of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, and representatives of WHO, BMGF, and the 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.”
According to Dangote, the donation marks 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. 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.”
Also speaking on the activities of CACOVID, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank Governor, who led the CACOVID Committee told the President he was proud to be part of the Coalition that supported government in its fight against insecurity.
“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. 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,” he said.
I may be wrong but an intended health funding initiative being applied to fund military hardware. So COVID has gone or can we not have a fault-proof programme in place to combat such future occurrences. How many primary healthcare is functional across the country. In essence, my submission is we can deploy that intervention fund to expand our health system. Above all, there are so many Nigerians soliciting funds through the social media to undertake various health procedures. Part of this fund would have been useful in supporting them