President Buhari lauds CACOVID for Donating 350 Security Vehicles
...says the COVID-19 response made him proud of the Coalition.
President Buhari lauds CACOVID for Donating 350 Security Vehicles
President Muhammadu Buhari praised the private sector operators’ coalition’s initiative on COVID-19, saying that the coalition’s work so far has made him more respected among world leaders.
The President stated this while receiving a parting donation of N12 billion in security equipment for the military and the Nigeria Police from the leadership of CACOVID in Abuja.
He said that the private sector had helped his government a lot to deal with social problems 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, and 13,000 bulletproof vests.
It will be recalled that the World Health Organization (WHO) had also rated CACOVID as the third largest contributor in the world to the fight against the COVID-19 virus, whose outbreak 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 honoured to be the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at this time.
“I am honoured to lead a country whose private sector eagerly mobilises 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.
The chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Aliko Dangote, a well-known businessman who started the Coalition with the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said that with the latest donation, the Coalition was coming to an end.
He listed other business leaders brought together under CACOVID including 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 whom 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 a 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.
So, the ADF Chairman said that CACOVID started another fundraising effort to buy supplies for the police and the military. This was done to help the government respond more quickly.
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 the 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 help us make buying decisions.” This was very important because there was a lot of confusion about testing and treatment options, and there were no successful models anywhere in the world. Leading Nigerian scientists and public health experts, the DG of NCDC, the DG of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and people from WHO, BMGF, and the UN were all on this committee.
“In addition, a core team of select staff members from our organisations manned the initiative’s operations centre seven days a week for several months, planning, coordinating, and delivering on the various activities of the coalition.”
While enumerating all the support the Coalition has offered the nation in the last two years, Dangote disclosed that the group mobilised its members and raised N62 billion to provide: 39 fully kitted isolation centres in all 36 states and the FCT; testing supplies for almost 1 million tests; food for 10 million vulnerable individuals across the country; oxygen and tanks to the most affected states; support for vaccine delivery and distribution across the nation; Support to reopen the economy (Travel Portal, IT, airport scanners/PPE, and other support) with communications and advocacy campaigns around prevention and against disinformation
Dangote says that the donation marks the end of the CACOVID initiative “as we wind down what has been called an example of patriotism, solidarity, and efficiency in terms of a 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’d like to thank the Presidential COVID-19 team, led by SGF Mr. Boss Mustapha, in particular 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 the government in its fight against insecurity.
“I am very happy with what CACOVID has done in the few years it has been around. My colleagues there have a strong sense of nationalism and patriotism that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. They should be praised for this. “The Coalition is an excellent example of what Nigeria must become: a nation of patriotic solidarity among individuals and corporations, as well as effective collaboration between the public and private sectors,” he said.