The war against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Nigeria is being fought on all fronts.
With over 1.3 million people infected and at list 75,000 lives lost worldwide, both public and private individuals and organizations have been working together, not only to ameliorate the effects of the pandemic, but also to totaly exterminate the deadly COVID-19 out of the surface of the earth.
While the government is at the front leading the battle, the private sector, including religious and philanthropic organizations, are firing from behind to ensure that the virus defeated.
Here, we look at some of these efforts.
At the global level, both the World Health Organization (WHO)and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), have made determined efforts in terms of providing necessary guidance on how to prevent the spread of the virus. They have equally put in a lot funds in that regard.
The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation have also donated medical equipment like test kits, face masks, as well as ventilators for use in fighting the spread of the pandemic
However, majority of Nigerians are yet to access any of these equipments, thereby creating doubts in their minds about the sincerity of those at the helm of affairs in their fight against the scourge.
Nigeria is not left out here since the country has recorded a number of cases of the deadly virus. Some individuals and corporate organizations under the aegis of the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) have made donations to the federal government to enable them fight coronavirus as well as assist its victims.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), being the custodian of the relief fund, had, through its director of communication, Isaac Okarafor, revealed that so far a total of N19.4 billion was donated by the organizations.
But the question of how the government intends to use the funds remains on the lips of Nigerians. Many people are dying of hunger, occasioned by the present lockdown and there appears to be no assistance on sight for majority of them.
Going by past experiences, like in the case of Grasscutter former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), James Lawal, who had helped himself with resources provided for those in IDPs camps, how are we sure that the present relief fund will not find its way into some private pockets?
Perhaps, that was why the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama decided to use the Church’s established channels to distribute his own relief fund to people infected and affected by coronavirus, rather than turning in his donations to the federal government.
Speaking during a church service held in Abuja on Sunday, the Archbishop said he was turning in all the monies and materials given to him by members of the Archdiocese during this year’s Cathdriaticum, for distribution to those affected by coronavirus, through members of St. Vincent de Paul and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church.
Be that as it may, we want the federal government to be more visible in its fight against coronavirus. They must ensure that Nigerians have access to funds to enable them stay at home while the lock down period lasts.
The government must therefore hasten up and roll out effective programme that would meet the practical needs of millions of Nigerians who are in dire need of assistance, by delivering to them relief materials, like it is done in other climes.
At the state level, some organizations and private individuals have been making efforts in the fight against the deadly COVID-19.
In Enugu State for instance, a research bases institute, the African Development Institute for Research Methodology (ADIRM), has partnered with the state government by recruiting and training over 150 volunteers who are currently creating awareness and sensitizing the public against the dangers of COVID-19.
Apart from procuring and reproducing PPE materials for use in the campaign against coronavirus, the group had also turned in to the state government, a 600-bed capacity facility donated to it by an Enugu based company, Golden Royale Ltd, which will serve as isolation centre, in case there is an escalation of coronavirus in the state.
In the same vein, the Catholic Bishops of Enugu, Awgu and Nsukka Dioceses, have reportedly made a joint donation to Enugu State government for the prosecution of war against the pandemic.
With almost zero facilities available here in Nigeria before now, it is hoped that the various donations would help in the fight against the virus.