The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, came into existent and started to cripple the economy of nations. Even the health systems in the top countries have suffered. The case is not different with Nigeria. At the inception of the crisis in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, the country had to face the reality of its struggling economy and poor health system. It became clear that the government couldn’t handle the health crisis alone and needed the help of corporate individuals and entities.
Privileged Nigerians in the private sector rallied to support the government’s fight against the disease. The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) was set up and bank accounts were opened for top entrepreneurs to donate funds to complement government’s efforts.
In March, Abdulsamad Rabiu was among those who responded. He is the Chairman of BUA Group, one of Africa’s leading foods and infrastructure conglomerate. Through his BUA Foundation, he donated N1 billion in cash to support the efforts of the Federal Government in strengthening the national response to the pandemic in Nigeria.
“This donation will not only provide additional needed funds to the government and NCDC’s efforts but will also serve to protect healthcare and medical workers on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic,” Rabiu said at the time.
Aside from the cash donation, his foundation also selected 9 states to benefit from its intervention. They include Lagos, Adamawa, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Edo, Rivers, Kwara and Kano States. He disclosed that each of these 9 states would receive about 100,000 protective facemasks, 1000 high grade medical protection and isolation gear, 2000 protective goggles, 1000 gloves and 1000 testing kits amongst other useful materials.
Rabiu didn’t stop there. In April, worried by the rising cases of COVID-19, particularly in Kano and Lagos, he announced a N3.3 billion grant to the two states and the Presidential Task Force (PTF). With the N3.3billion additional donation, Rabiu became the highest Nigerian donor to the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
Announcing this in a letter to the PTF, he said Kano, which had seen a spike in the number of cases, including hundreds of unexplained deaths, would get N2 billion, while Lagos which had the highest number of confirmed cases in Nigeria would get N1 billion. He said the sum of N300 million would go to the presidential taskforce to assist with logistical and operational activities of the taskforce.
Without relenting, Rabiu returned his hands of benevolence to Lagos State in June. He donated 5 ambulances in addition to a cash sum of N200 million to the state.
The Group Chief Operating Officer, BUA Group, Chimaobi Madukwe, while presenting the COVID-19 response ambulances and cheque to the First Lady of Lagos state, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said BUA would continue to support various efforts across Nigeria to get rid of the virus. True to his words, the foundation and its founder did not renege in their promises.
In July, Adamawa State received the donation of N200 million and three bus ambulances from BUA Group as support in the fight against COVID-19 in the state. Rabiu, represented by a former Minister of State for Health, Dr Idi Hong, said the foundation had so far spent about N7 billion assisting governments and corporate organisations across the country. He stressed that the company would continue to render assistance towards development of humanity.
Also in July, BUA Group presented three ambulances to the Abia State government to help it fight the pandemic more effectively. Presenting the vehicles, representative of the Chairman of BUA Group, Muhammed Ibrahim, said it decided to partner the federal and state governments to support the fight against COVID-19 as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The train of donations also reached Delta State in July. BUA donated 3 new emergency response ambulances to the state government. The representative of BUA and Group Head, Corporate Communications, O’tega Ogra, while presenting the vehicles to the State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, noted that the support was part of BUA’s effort at combating the pandemic in the country.
In September, Rabiu’s BUA Group donated an additional sum of N350 million to CACOVID, bringing to N1.35 billion, its total donation to the coalition. Speaking on the donation, the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, said BUA remained committed to its “sustainable development obligations as a responsible corporate citizen and will keep supporting various social and humanitarian interventions wherever it can.”
“We intend to keep monitoring the situation in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders and are ready to contribute even more, where necessary,” he said.
Since the disease started ravaging Nigeria, Rabiu has not shied away from providing monetary and financial supports to governments at all levels when it matters. Till this moment, he has continued to acknowledge the need to work together with governments to ensure that the fight against the deadly disease is successful.
For their vital efforts in sustaining Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and his BUA Foundation are our #ALEDEHCOVID-19HEROES for the week.