GTBank scores a major positive for corporate Nigeria today with the opening of a new 100-bed hospital it has built for the management of the growing cases of coronavirus disease. The Onikan facility exemplifies Corporate Social Investment and the ability of the company to rise to the needs of society. It is commendable.
We expect many more of similar gestures from the corporate world. Globally, corporate and individual citizens are responding with gestures of goodwill and citizenship that speak to commitment and bonding with their societies. There are many examples.
Access Bank announced just as the ink was drying on the GTB one that it is building four units of 1000-bed tents equipped to serve as testing, isolation, treatment and training centres. The tents would have medical equipment, supplies and personnel to cater to anyone who may be affected by the coronavirus.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God donated a suite of ventilators to the Lagos State Government for its hospitals. Dunamis International Gospel Centre donated precautionary kits to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The items include 20 cartons of hand sanitizers, four cartons of hand gloves and seven packets of face masks. In Abia State, two-time governorship candidate Alex Otti through a foundation in his name announced on Wednesday generous donations of items to enable better prevention and management of the scourge whenever it shows up in the state.
Donations from the Alex Otti Foundation went to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia and the Living Word Hospital in Aba. They include 25, 000 pairs of hand gloves, 2, 500 units of facial masks, 2500 units of personal protection robes, 2, 500 pairs of medical glasses and 2, 500 pairs of medical booths. The Living Word Hospital also got a set of these items as well as a six-room duplex to serve as isolation centre.
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer donated three million doses of chloroquine to the US government as an aid in the fight against COVID-19. Novartis, number three in the global ranking, donated 130million doses of hydroxychloroquine. Israeli firm Teva similarly donated 16 million doses of hydroxychloroquine. Mylan Pharmaceuticals reopened its closed West Virginia, USA factory to produce hydroxychloroquine
Celebrities in various fields are showcasing good corporate citizenship in various parts of the world. They are donating resources of money, materials and their time to assist their communities and society. Arsenal FC pledged 100, 000 pounds sterling and the use of their company cars to transport National Health Service workers and help deliver supplies.
We call for activation of the spirit of community. Community involvement is critical in Nigeria because of the many citizens who struggle for daily bread and who would be affected adversely by the lockdowns that many states are imposing. The coronavirus-induced shutdowns offer an opportunity for Nigerians to show the colour of their hearts.
Community and Mutual Aid Groups should work together with corporate citizens to ensure that those in need get the support that they deserve. There is also an opportunity for us to audit our societal structures in the area of giving and mutual support. Where are the national, state and local branches of the Boys Scouts, the Red Cross Society, the Boys’ Brigade, the Girls’ Guides and similar organisations that taught young people skills in community involvement, sacrificial giving, service and leadership? It is time for them to show up and stand for the count.
Corporate bodies should be rolling out CSR/CSI schemes. The best practice is that such schemes should have an element of stake holding or ownership to ensure they do not go to waste. NGOs and mutual aid societies including our elite clubs -Rotary, Lions, etc- should rise to serve as credible agents to ensure the aid is well managed.
A spirit of community is critical and essential to managing in these coronavirus times. Activate it, please.