Aliko Dangote and Herbert Wigwe are spearheading a coalition of private sector organisations to support the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) menace sweeping across the country. This gesture is in addition to the N200 million earlier pledged by the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) to help curb its spread.
The initiative, which is called the Coalition Against Coronavirus (COCAVID), will involve the erection of fully-equipped medical tents to house patients and serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centers, with an additional facility also provided in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The COCAVID, led by Dangote Industries Limited and Access Bank Group in collaboration with Zenith Bank, GTBank, MTN, ITB and others, is tasked with the responsibility of mobilising the private sector thought leadership and resources; creating public awareness; and directing support to private and public healthcare institutions.
Giving details of the coalition, President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, explained that “ADF is pulling resources across industries to provide technical and operational support while providing funding and building advocacy through aggressive awareness drives.”
According to him, “the coalition is working with Lagos State Government to erect fully-equipped medical tents that will serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centers. We are also providing an additional facility in Victoria Island, Lagos.”
He assured that these centers will be fully equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel to cater to patients who may become affected. “In addition, we will be bringing in experts from around the world to provide technical and training support”, he said.
“COVID-19 affects us all and threatens our collective health (economic, social, psychological) and physical wellbeing. Hence, the urgent need to collaborate and work together to beat this common enemy. The task ahead is daunting and bigger than any one organisation. To win this battle, it is critical we all come together as one,” Dangote added.
He disclosed that “work has commenced to ensure these facilities are completed in good time to serve the growing need of the population during this perilous period.”
He also sought government’s support to have private laboratories test alongside government centers to reduce the waiting period for suspected COVID-19 cases. “There are currently five Government laboratories equipped to handle all the testing in Nigeria. However, we have many more quality ones that can do it, but are not yet approved by Government to do so,” he noted.