Nigeria’s Private Sector led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Thursday announced the flag-off of a nationwide distribution of multibillion naira food palliative and other relief items to mitigate the adverse effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable Nigerians.
The food relief materials for which the private sector operators are spending about N23 billion, will cover 1.7 families amounting to about 10 million people across the 774 local governments in the country, including the federal capital territory (FCT).
CACOVID administrator and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Zouera Youssoufou told newsmen in Lagos that the food distribution was the next phase in the line of actions mapped out by the coalition to partner government in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and relief the vulnerable people of the burden posed by the outbreak of the disease.
Zouera disclosed that with the announcement in Lagos, the coalition has divided the nation into the six geo-political zones and the distribution was being flagged-off simultaneously in states such as Adamawa, Yobe, Ekiti Ogun, delta, Edo, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Plateau, and Nasarawa.
The food palliatives are coming in addition to donations by CACOVID, of medical equipment to state governments to strengthen their response capacity, and construction of isolation facilities in about 38 centres across the country for which the coalition had spent about N15 billion, to help ease off the pressure on the states and Federal Government in their responses to the pandemic.
CACOVID has also helped to reinforce the testing capacity of the (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with the donation of over 300,000 test kits and personal protective equipment (PPES) just as the coalition is primed to commence the third and final phase of its Covid-19 response plan.
Youssoufou told journalists that each of the targeted 1.7m households would receive in various quantities, rice, pasta, garri, maize, semovita, noodles, salt, and sugar. She explained the rationale behind the involvement of private sector operators in the fight against Covid-19, saying the minimum the private sector could do as partners in nation-building was to collaborate with the government at all levels to help fight the pandemic and reduce the hardship it has brought upon the nation and her people.
“CACOVID has since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic been committed to providing relief packages to the most vulnerable. The coalition’s primary focus was to aid the Federal Government in the fight against Covid-19”.
“Having done this successfully, we are turning our attention to offering a reprieve to households who have been adversely affected by the scourge of the virus. Through this food relief programme, we will be reducing the risk of a second viral wave by encouraging people to remain indoors rather than expose themselves when seeking to provide food for themselves and their families, Zouera stated.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation CEO reiterated that the coalition would be working with state governments through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to ensure all targeted families are reached and that it is done transparently.
She said that the state governors and FCT minister, through the state implementation committee, would appoint a coordinator to diligently record and send an accurate and complete copy of the inventory tracker and goods delivery notes to the CACOVID operations centre daily through the state CACOVID representative to ensure timely and efficient delivery and proper transparency and accountability.