As part of celebrating 10 years of a successful business operation in the Nigeria, telecommunications giant, Airtel says it plans to spend N300m as part of its support for the fight against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
This, it said, is the final part of the N1.9bn pledged last April at the early stages of the pandemic, even as Segun Ogunsanya, the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive of the company, expressed profound appreciation to Nigerians for their unflinching loyalty to the network.
In a breakdown, he said N200m would be invested in refurbishing and equipping a four-storey admission facility for the specialist units in the Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
The Lagos State and Ogun State Governments are o receive N50m each for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health workers, and a Molecular Laboratory to be provided by 54 Gene with the capacity for 300 tests per day respectively.
Ogunsanya expressed the company’s gratitude to stakeholders in the telecommunications industry especially customers who designated “it as the telecoms brand of choice over the years.”
The 10-year milestone, he stressed, would not have been possible without the custom and support of its over 50m loyal and passionate customers, stressing that Airtel succeeded because Nigerians truly believe in the brand.
Nigerians, he continued, have come to accept the company as an important stakeholder firmly committed to growing the economy, providing jobs and creating platforms and opportunities to empower more Nigerians both young and old.
The Airtel CEO also commended the Minster of Communications and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Ali Pantami, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, and other regulators for providing leadership and vision in the industry. He hoped that recent push by government to make telecommunications facilities Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), which the telecommunications operators have been seeking for, will crystalize into a law soon to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure in the Country.
Reflecting on the 10-year milestone, Ogunsanya recalled: “Airtel acquired Zain in June 2010 and rebranded as Airtel in November, 2010. Over time, we have remained committed to our singular vision of empowering Nigerians and enriching lives. I am proud of what we have achieved together and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank every stakeholder (employees, customers, investors, partners, media, regulators, governments and others) for making this dream come true.”
Ogunsanya pledged that Airtel would continue to be a force for good in the country, providing excellent communication services whilst supporting the various communities under its corporate social responsibility activities.
Lagos State Government, Ogun State Government and LUTH have all expressed their profound appreciation to Airtel for the donations.
The Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Chris Bode, the statement noted, commended “Airtel for its generosity and support at a critical time when the entire world is battling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am particularly pleased with this support because of the eagerness and willingness of Airtel to support us at this time. The company is not just offering financial resources but is deeply concerned and following through on this important journey of ensuring adequate care for Nigerians who have contracted the virus.
“The gesture, I believe, will inspire other corporate organisations to invest some of their earnings in building a healthcare sector that will be strong and resilient enough to cope and manage emergencies and pandemics like Covid-19. I salute Airtel for its compassion and caring disposition,” he said.
Commending Airtel also, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, expressed “profound appreciation to your organization for magnanimously offering to support the efforts of Ogun State Government to contain the spread of COVID-19 with the procurement of a State-owned Molecular Laboratory.
“It is widely believed that the war against Coronavirus could only be fought and won by aggressive testing, hence, your support will go a long way in ensuring that the State can provide continued testing for her citizenry while also building our capacity for a sustainable testing regime,’ he stated.
On his part, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, expressed appreciation to Airtel Nigeria for standing to be counted during this uncertain and critical period just as he reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting the pandemic as well as mitigating the impact on the good people of Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu recalled that Airtel Nigeria employees were the first employee group to make a donation of N20m from their personal contributions which, to him, was a highly thoughtful and commendable gesture worthy of emulation.
On the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Airtel Nigeria CEO stated that the company had already committed various amounts and support in kind covering donations to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health and Port Health Authority as well as free Short Message Service (SMS) to its customers, a media awareness campaign, toll-free lines and zero-rated access to important health and educational sites.
Ogunsanya restated Airtel’s commitment to doing business in Nigeria. In his words, “Airtel is here to stay. We are truly global in our orientation but Nigerian in operation with some of the best Nigerians in the leadership team driving both the aggressive growth of the business and the continuous improvements in customer experience.”