The private sector relief fund, championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise funds to combat COVID-19 has rallied to N21.58 billion.
According to a CBN update yesterday on the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Relief Fund, domiciled with the apex bank, the cash, which totalled N19.488 billion as at last Friday, rose to N21.588 billion following fresh donations from some individuals and organisations.
The federal government also yesterday shed more light on the mission of Chinese doctors to Nigeria, which has been buffeted by criticisms from some organisations and individuals.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, told reporters in Abuja that contrary to misconception, the Chinese doctors are not coming to Nigeria to treat COVID-19 patients.
Rather, they would superintend over the installation of medical equipment to facilitate the treatment of COVID-19 patients and the training of personnel to handle the equipment.
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, however, said the Chinese medical team must be made to undergo the necessary checks as provided by Nigerian law.
The duo spoke just as Kwara State confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in the state, while Lagos State Government discharged yet another two patients yesterday after they tested negative for the virus following their treatment at its Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba.
A statement yesterday on behalf of the coalition by the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said the amount excluded the N2.4 billion pledges by three individuals and organisations yet to be redeemed. They are Lafarge Plc and MTN Nigeria, that pledged N1 billion each and John Coumantatous (Flour Mills Nigeria Plc), who pledged N400 million.
The initial list of 37 donors, which grew to 47 as at last Friday, was 50 as of yesterday (excluding those yet to redeem their pledges).
Some of the donors on the latest list included Chief Mike Adenuga, Raj Gupta of African Steel Mills Nigeria Ltd., Modupe and Folorunsho Alakija of Famfa Oil Limited and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), all donating N1 billion each to the relief fund.
The statement reiterated the coalition’s appreciation to the donors for their contributions to the relief fund.
Okoroafor, while urging more Nigerians and corporate bodies to contribute to the fund, charged Nigerians to do their part in checking any further spread of the virus in Nigeria.
The objective of CACOVID is to mobilise private sector leadership and private sector resources; increase general public awareness, education, and buy-in and provide direct support to private and public healthcare ability to respond to the crisis as well as support the federal government’s efforts.
CACOVID had last Monday said work had started to provide and equip medical facilities in the six geopolitical zones.
The medical facilities included the creation of testing, isolation and treatment centres as well as the provision of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and molecular testing labs.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had said CACOVID was targeting N120 billion for the acquisition of healthcare facilities and advocacy about the virus across the country, among others.