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.
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.