Government, banks and wealthy individuals contribute billions to fight coronavirus in Nigeria
Posted March 27, 2020 8:23 a.m. EDT
CNN — The Nigerian government has approved a 10 billion Naira grant (about $27 million) to fight the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the country.
According to a statement from President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, the money will be released to Lagos State, Nigeria's commercial center, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.
"This grant will enable Lagos increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity-building," President Buhari said in a tweet.
Nigeria currently has a total of 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases including 44 in Lagos and 11 in Abuja, the country's capital city.
The President is also releasing a 5 billion Naira (about $13 million) special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
The NCDC, the country's leading national public health institute, has been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, collating numbers and responding to suspected cases of the virus.
"The immediate release of a 5 billion Naira special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country," said President Buhari
Banks, wealthy individuals join in
Wealthy Nigerians and organizations, including banks, have also donated billions of Naira to help fund medical centers and provide essential materials necessary to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) announced Thursday a donation of 5 billion Naira (about $13 million) to provide beds for isolation centers, intensive care unit facilities and direct access to medical advice to up to 450,000 citizens every day.
"This global pandemic must bring citizens, governments and business leaders together -- and quickly. As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria and Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various Governments, in stemming the spread of the global pandemic," Tony Elumelu, UBA Chairman said in the statement.
Wealthy members of the private sector including Femi Otedola, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Herbery Wigwe, Segun Agbaje and Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, all contributed 1 billion Naira (about $2.7 million) each to support the government in curtailing the pandemic in Nigeria.
"President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted the public-spiritedness of wealthy Nigerians and organizations for standing up to be counted in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic," reads a statement released Friday by Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity.
Travel restrictions have also been put in place to keep potential carriers of the virus from high-risk countries out of Nigeria.
All international airports and land borders are to be closed for four weeks to prevent further imported cases into the country, according to a statement from President Buhari.
In a tweet, he said the move is "... to enable us to put up the appropriate policies, processes, and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases."
The movement of commuter trains and cargo vessels that have been at sea for less than 14 days has also been suspended.