Mr Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Industries Ltd., and Mr Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director, Access Bank Group, are spearheading a coalition of private sector organisations to support governments’ ongoing efforts at tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) menace.
The industry giants made this known in a statement to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
The gesture, according to the statement, is in addition to the N200 million earlier pledged by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to help to curb the spread of the virus.
The initiative, which is called the Coalition Against Coronavirus (COCAVID), will involve erection of fully-equipped medical tents to house patients and serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centres, with an additional facility on Victoria Island, Lagos.
COCAVID, led by Dangote Industries Ltd. and Access Bank Group in collaboration with Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, MTN, ITB and others, is tasked with mobilising the private sector through leadership and resources in creating public awareness, and directing support for private and public healthcare institutions.
Giving details of the coalition, President of Dangote Industries Ltd., Aliko Dangote, said that the ADF was pulling resources across industries to provide technical and operational support while providing funding and building advocacy through aggressive awareness drives.
Dangote said: “The coalition is working with Lagos State Government to erect fully-equipped medical tents that will serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centres.
“We are also providing an additional facility on Victoria Island, Lagos.”
He gave the assurance that the centres would be fully equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel to cater for patients.
“In addition, we will be bringing in experts from around the world to provide technical and training support.
“COVID-19 affects us all and threatens our collective health – economic, social, psychological and physical wellbeing; hence, the urgent need to 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 had begun to ensure the facilities were completed in good time to serve the growing need of the population.
He also sought government’s support to have private laboratories test alongside government centres 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 said.