By Peter Egwuatu
The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector-led initiative against the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic has said it will distribute food palliatives to about 1.7 million vulnerable households across Nigeria.
This was even as the group said it will raise more awareness as well as distribute face and nose masks to Nigerians to ensure the spread of the COVID-19 is reduced to the barest minimum.
Speaking during its flagged off campaign themed “Coro Must Go”, in Lagos on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) Zouera Youssoufou, said in Lagos we have started the initiative to distribute masks and talk to people on how they can protect themselves from the virus while adding that the group is set to roll out palliatives to vulnerable households in Lagos in the coming week.
“We are creating awareness as you know that there was a misconception that COVID-19 was only attacking wealthy people but the truth is that community transmission is happening amongst us and so there is need to do the needful which is wear our masks, sanitize our hands and try to keep to social distancing.
We will also visit every state to ensure we distribute palliatives to about N10 million people ( about 1.7 million families) but it is hard to do it all at once because of the size of the country and so there has been a massive effort to quickly do this as soon as possible and so this is why we are raising awareness first and then distribute the palliatives. We are targeting the most vulnerable households and so we are counting on the help of each state government via a unit who will identify these families”she explained.
Corroborating her, Group Head, Branding and Communications at Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina, noted that Nigerians are still defaulting in the use of face or nose mask and added that the group is liaising with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ensure the awareness gets to grassroots of every state government in the country.
“People still default to using face or nose masks and so we still need to urge or convince them to use these things to ensure we reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic especially in Nigeria. Some do not believe that it even exists and that is where enforcement comes in.
This is why we are moving away from public engagement to public involvement because the survival of Nigerians is in the hands of Nigerians and so everyone has to take responsibility. For us, we have started engaging with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ensure we drive this to the grassroots, that is moving from cities to villages”, he said.
CACOVID is led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote through his Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) and Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank. It is also backed by Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.
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