COVID 19 : Buhari Hails Donors AsNIMASA Makes The Difference In Giving Out Its Donations To Support Victims

By Stephen Ubanna

President Muhammadu Buhari  is a happy man. The Katsina state born Nigerian President source of happiness  was  “the public spirited donations” from individuals and Corporate Organisations as the nation battles COVID 19.

Garba Shehu,, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a Statement said  he commended the Captains of Industries, Corporate Organisations, missionaries, musical artists and individuals who had made  donations to the country to help in the fight against the pandemic.

The donations appear to have made the job of Osagie Ehanire, minister of Health and Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigerian Center For Disease Control, nNCDC, who had shouldered the responsibility of identifying and tracing the victims throughout the country since the out of the sickness. Ihekweazu  had also been involved in liaising with the state governors to provide Isolation Center Units, icu, in the states to accommodate the victims. This is evident by the ICU, provided by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor to accommodate the victims in the state.

Given the importance attached to the fight against the dreaded  disease, the President  on Monday, March 30, 2020, signed the COVID 19 Regulations, Executive bill, 2020 , which had declared it as a dangerous infectious disease. This may have given Ihekweazu, the NCDC boss and  the newly formed National TTask Force on COVID 19, more job to do to contain the spread of the disease in the country, particular, Lagos and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

 Only recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , NNPC, and 33 partners  had donated $30  million United States dollar, equivalent of N11billion, going by the  current exchange rate of N380.00 to a dollar,  to the NCDC Fund. The United for Africa, UBA, plc, a Pan African Bank, had donated N5 billion, to support the fight to contain the spread of the disease in Nigeria and 20 other African countries where it had an established presence.

The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and other Shareholders of the 130 bed- Agura Hotels facility at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, were said to have agreed to donate the facility to the NCDC, to be used as an Isolation Center Unit, ICU,  for the  Coronavirus victims. The latest of the donors to the NCDC, to support victims, from the nation’s Maritime Sector, according to insider sources  was the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA but with a difference.  

When contacted, prior to his redeployment to another Department in the agency, Isichei Osamgbi, a Deputy Director and erstwhile Head of the agency Corporate Communications confirmed that the Maritime Regulatory agency had donated  N50 million and 20 Ventilators to support the government both at the Federal and state levels,  in their effort to fight the deadly disease, COVID 19,  which according to President Muhammadu Buhari  had become both a “ Health  and Emergency Economic Crisis”. Bashir Jamoh, the agency Director General was  said  to have replaced him with Prince Philip, an Assistant Director in the Department.

Giving a break down on how the cash donation would be shared between the Federal and the Lagos state government, which is carrying the  burden of the over 130 Coronavirus victims in the country, Jamoh, the Director General had disclosed that N30 million out of the N50 million donated, would go into the Federal governmentCOVID 19 Funds while N20 million would be spent by the Lagos state Account to support its  effort to stop further spread of the disease by providing Isolation  Center  Unit, ICU, for  accommodating the Coronavirus victims in the state.

The Value News learnt that the agency  had  volunteered its fast  six intervention vessels to be used by the NCDC , to facilitate transport logistics  support  in the nation’s maritime sector. The agency was said to have also volunteered an additional  four fully  equipped  brand new Ambulances, four Hilux trucks and four 36 Coaster buses worth millions of naira to support and facilitate the  movement of Coronavirus victims at FCT, Delta, Rivers ,Cross river and Kaduna  states .This is in addition to the donation of  60 beds, 20 patients ICU monitors, 20 Oxygen Concentrators, 10  Infusion pump, 10 Syringe pump,, 20 Oxygen giving set, 10 Suction  machine and 100 set of personal protective  equipment, PPE valued at  millions of naira. This may force other Corporate Organisations to go back to the drawing  board  before coming out to make their donation to the NCDC, to fight the Coranavirus scourge public.

 Jamoh , the NIMASA , boss, who could not hide his feelings had said “ this is our modest contributions to support the government effort both at the Federal and state level  in the fight to contain the spread of the  dreaded virus in the country. Going by the World Health Organisation, WHO, records, the pandemic had spread to over 150 countries. Indeed the sickness had fully entered 40 countries in the African continent.

Boniface Anniebonam: Founder, NAGAFF

 Between  December 31, 2019 and Monday, March 30, 2020, the WHO had  said that there had been 715,000 reported cases  from different parts of the world including 33, 579 deaths. The  Peoples Republic of China, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the North American country of the United States including South Korea are still topping the chart of countries having the highest figure of confirmed victims and recorded deaths.

 There are fears  that that since the disease  had spread into many countries in  the  African Continent, it  might spread like  wide fire because of lack of basic infrastructural facilities to contain it like the developed  economies which have the resources and are doing so.

 This may have informed why China, which was first hit by the disease  had  moved into the Continent  to support countries affected by the disease to contain it. Recall that Iheakweazu, the Director General, NCDC, was among the ten top global Health leaders sponsored by the WHO, to China  recently  to understudy the approach adopted by the country to contain the COVID 19 as the death tool  which was running into thousands daily before now  had drastically  reduced to a manageable  number.

, in the fight stop the spread of the disease , had said that volunteers from the agency  would be deployed to join the first set of responders from the Federal  ministry of Health  agency, Lagos and other states in managing the spread of the global sickness.

According to Medical experts, the Ventilator equipment  donated by the agency to the NCDC, has medical values to the Coronavirus victims  as it would assist their breathing , a process referred as   artificial respiration, which are basically need  at this time to help fight the disease. 

Speaking at A forum recently in Lagos, an unhappy Jamoh described the disease as a ’’pandemic against humanity”, stressing that ”it came  suddenly  upon unprepared world’’, which demands drastic action from all and sundry  to ontain the spread of the virus and salvage our common humanity’’.

An aggrieved NIMASA Director General declared: we are concerned  about the effect of  the pandemic on the socio-economic life  of the people, at a time  the agency  is driving the Blue economy Campaign to make the nation’s Maritime sector a key of  President Muhammadu Buhari economic diversification agenda.

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