As part of efforts to halt the spread of the deadly COVID-19 in Nigeria, the federal government has distributed 99, 642 face masks, 9, 999 face shields and 1,110 overall gowns to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Femi Ojudu, Thursday announced the distribution on his Facebook account, Ojudu Babafemi. The breakdown of the distribution of the personal protective equipment (PPE) shows that Lagos State got the Lion’s share with 27, 678 face masks, 2, 596 face shields and 165 overall gowns.
This was followed by the FCT with 14, 115 face masks, 1, 906 face shield and 161 overall gowns. So far, Lagos and the FCT have the highest numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country with Lagos currently having 91 cases, while the FCT has 35 confirmed cases of the COVID-19.
Ogun State received 4, 375 face masks, 671 face shields and 58 overall gowns, while Bauchi, Edo, Ekiti Osun, Oyo and Rivers States each received 1, 912 face masks, 291 face shields and 26 overall gowns. Other states each received 1, 500 face masks, 110 face shields and 20 overall gowns.
The Jack Ma Foundation in China, created by Alibaba founder, had last week donated 107 box loads of medical supplies to Nigeria. It is believed the personal protective equipment would help in halting community spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
The distribution is coming amid spirited denials by the presidency that the presidential taskforce had hijacked the private sector donation fund to combat the coronavirus. Presidential aide on digital media Tolu Ogunlesi, discounted media reports that the taskforce was managing the private sector donations to help Nigeria tackle the global pandemic.
The taskforce inaugurated in March is in charge of the monitoring of developments around the world on the outbreak of coronavirus. Since the rising cases in Nigeria, members of the private sector and individual have donated funds to support the fight against the disease.
However, some Nigerians believed that the funds could be diverted into private pockets in the absence of accountability. But Ogunlesi disclosed that the account for the relief fund is domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and not with PTFCOVID-19.
“Coordinator of #PTFCOVID19 (secretary to the government of the Federation Boss Mustapha) today explained that none of the monies donated by Private Sector are coming to the Task Force,” Ogunlesi tweeted. “Donations are being made to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 #CACOVID Relief Fund, domiciled at CBN. No Kobo coming to the Task Force.”
The CBN on Wednesday said monetary contributions to the account set up under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) stood at about N15 billion. CBN spokesperson Isaac Okorafor said the 37 donors include individuals, banks and other corporate organisations.
Details of the contributions showed that the CBN and Aliko Dangote Foundation contributed N2 billion each, while Mike Adenuga (Globacom), Abdul Samad Rabiu (BUA Sugar Refinery), Segun Agbaje (GTB), Tony Elumelu (UBA), Oba Otudeko (First Bank), Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank), Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank) and Femi Otedola of Amperion Power Distribution donated N1 billion each to the relief fund. Other donors include Pacific Holding Ltd, Union Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citi Bank Nigeria Ltd, FCMB, Fidelity Bank, EcoBank, African Steel Mills and Multichoice Nigeria Limited.
Okorafor listed others as FSDH Merchant Bank, FBN Merchant Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, Coronation Merchant Bank, Sun Trust Bank, Providus Bank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank, Heritage Bank, Nova Merchant Bank, Polaris Bank, and Keystone Bank. The list also includes Globus Bank, Titan Trust Bank, Takagro Chemicals Ltd, Ahmadu Mahmoud and Handy Capital Ltd.
He, however, urged more Nigerians and corporate bodies to key into the coalition with a view to supporting the fight against the pandemic. “Nigeria can overcome the coronavirus pandemic scourge with all hands on deck,” the CBN spokesman said.