The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) is set to distribute N23 billion worth of food to 10 million Nigerians from next week as part of its effort to mitigate the impact of the lockdown order by the federal and various state governments.
Announcing this during the Coalition’s inspection of its yet-to-be completed 200-bed isolation facility at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba Sunday, the Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dankote said the palliative will be shared across the 36 states, and in all 774 local governments in the country.
He said: “This Coalition is not only involved in medical intervention, we are involved in food distributions to Nigerians. We are buying N23 billion worth of food items to be distributed during this lockdown, as food is very important in sustaining the stay-at-home order.
“Nigeria has about 200 million people. So we will be distributing the food items to five per cent of the country’s population, and that amounts to 10 million Nigerians. You know on the average, each household has six persons, which means we will be reaching 1.6 million households in the country with food items. We hope to roll this out within the next 10 days.”
He listed the food items to be distributed to each of the 1.6 million households to include 10kg of rice, two cartons of noodles, one carton of spagetti, five kg of sugar and one kg of salt. “This will be in phases, but this is the first we will do as part of palliatives to Nigerians.”
He also added that so far, the Coalition has raised N25 billion, noting that efforts were still being put in place to get more funds.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said the private sector body consists of about 50 organisations, adding that the group will be represented in all states of the federation to provide support to the government in the fight against COVID-19.
He said the yet to be completed 200-bed isolation centre in IDH, Yaba was being replicated in several other states across Nigeria, adding that the idea was to ensure Nigerians positive for COVID-19 adequately gets the care they need.
He said: “When we are done with the isolation centres, we will hand them over to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, who will in turn hand them over to the various state governments where they are being built.
“On the palliatives, you can see many Nigerians re already restive because of lack of food. So our plan is to take the items to each states, then to all local governments, and most importantly all wards in Nigeria. We will take it to the bottom of the pyramid so that poor Nigerians will not miss out of the palliatives.”
On how this food items will be distributed to the grassroots in the country, he said the Dangote Group had been involved in distribution chain for a long time, so its structure will be used in achieving the goal.