The private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a group of private sector operators, on Monday said it continued its support for the Federal Government’s fight against the virus with the supply of critical oxygen to Isolation centres across the country, for case management of patients.
The latest intervention, the coalition said has become necessary he onset of the second wave of the pandemic that has proved more devastating, given the severity of cases and rising number and death being recorded in recent weeks.
Addressing newsmen on the latest donations, in Lagos, an administrator of CACOVID, Zouera Youssoufou, said a total of 1300 cylinders have been delivered, “since December 21, 2020 when we first received the request for oxygen from the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.”
“In addition to the oxygen that has been provided by African Industries Group, CACOVID has also purchased over 1,000 cylinders to be distributed to the states that have the most need,” she said.
Pledging the group’s resolve continue doing so for as long as the intervention is required, she said the oxygen donated to all the isolation centres across the country was provided by a key partner of CACOVID, Raj Gupta of African Industries Group at no costs.
Youssoufou, who is also managing director and Chief Executive of Aliko Dangote Foundation, recalled that Nigeria is experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with this second wave.
CACOVID, through Gupta, CEO of African Industries Group, a founding member, she continued has been providing oxygen to the National Hospital and Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in FCT.
The same offer, the coalition said in a statement, has also been made to the Lagos State, where there have been reported cases of oxygen shortage, following which CACOVID has provided 122 cylinders already refilled for use and sent to the Yaba Centre as at last week.
Youssoufou recalled that Since “March 2020, when CACOVID was convened, the coalition has raised about N39bn, which has been spent on supporting the establishment of 39 isolation centres across the country, including the largest and most used in Lagos, during this second wave.
She said: “We also purchased millions of PPEs, testing supplies, palliatives for 10.7m people, and provided risk communication in support of the messaging campaigns to keep Nigerians aware and protected from the virus.”
Youssoufou explained that African Industries Group has made all the appropriate technological adjustments to ensure the oxygen they supply is what is required.
Making a commitment on behalf of CACOVID, Gupta promised to continue supporting “Nigeria with oxygen for free for as long as this is required.
“No Covid patient in any public hospital or isolation centre should have to pay for oxygen… We have been in Nigeria for 50 years and this year marks our 50th anniversary. We manufacture Oxygen as one of our steel making process but when we noticed COVID-19 patients are dying of oxygen, we have to step in, through CACOVID.
“As a member of CACOVID, this is our support in moving the country forward and we see this as a humanitarian crisis and as a responsible company, we have to step in, to ensure that no-one died due to lack of Oxygen. If it takes us to temporarily stop our steel production, we will happily do that for our people to live and be healthy in Nigeria”
On the cost implication, Gupta said it is a secondary issue, stressing that of most concern to the company is the need to save lives.
Photo caption: From left, Director, Corporate affairs, African Industries Limited, Uche Iwuamadi; Chairman, African Industries, Raj Gupta; Group; Managing Director/ CEO, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou; and Branding and Communications Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Anthony Chiejina; addressing newsmen during the presentation of oxygen cylinders to the Federal Government in Lagos Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Monday, 25 January, 2021.