With cooperation and partnership, Nigeria will overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and chart a new course in nationalism and brotherhood, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The president said this in a commendation statement he issued on Friday, to acknowledge the effort by the Nigerian private sector coalition to mobilise funding and support for the fight against the spread of the deadly virus.
Coalition Against COVID-19
The coalition against COVID-19 is a partnership between the government and the private sector, led by Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GT Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank, and Nigerian Breweries.
Other members of the coalition include Herbert Wigwe, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Femi Otedola.
On Thursday, the Bankers Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spearheaded a private sector initiative to mobilise Nigeria’s elite corps of billionaires to pool together about N120 billion to support the federal government’s acquisition of medical equipment and logistics against COVID-19.
N120 billion target
At the inauguration of the coalition, Mr Emefiele said each member would ensure their institution contributes at least N1 billion to the effort, while new members would be allowed as long as they are willing to contribute at least N1 billion.
The target was set at about N120 billion.
In the commendation statement signed by the presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, the president saluted the public-spiritedness of wealthy Nigerians and organisations for standing up to be counted in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Adesina said the president commended members of the coalition for contributing N1 billion each, and being in the vanguard of encouraging others in the private sector to do the same.
The president specially commended the UBA for also donating N5 billion to Nigeria and Africa; and the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was also the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2019 presidential elections, who pledged N50 million.
Also, First Bank is partnering with the government, the United Nations, and innovative technological firms to provide e-learning solutions to at least one million children under its ‘Keep Them Engaged, Keep Them Safe’ initiative.
“The President extols every other helping hand that has been lent by individuals, groups and organizations, which may not necessarily be in the public domain,” Mr Adesina said.
“President Buhari recommends these laudable strides to other high net-worth Nigerians and organizations. Hand in hand, the country will overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic, and chart a new course in nationalism and brotherhood,” he said.