In the early stages of the fight against the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Nigeria, the government was faced with the financial burden that came with dealing with a pandemic. The health crisis and the nation’s weak economy forced the government to seek for donations from willing individuals and groups.
The government’s call prompted private sector players to create the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to supplement government’s response to the pandemic. The CACOVID, which consists of successful and accomplished businessmen and businesswomen, called for donations. Nigerian industrialists, Modupe and Folorunsho Alakija, were among those who responded positively. The couple donated N1 billion to support the fight against the ravaging disease in Nigeria.
The donation was made through their Famfa Oil Ltd, one of the leading indigenous exploration and production companies in Nigeria. In a statement issued March 30, 2020, the management of the oil company said the fund would be shared among major stakeholders on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
It donated N250 million each to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Lagos state government. Medical workers on the frontline in Lagos got a donation of N100 million, and their counterparts in Abuja got the same amount.
African center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases got a donation of N50 million, Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) Health Trust got N5 million, while N245 million was allocated to the supply of medical equipment to relevant organisations.
“Individually and collectively, we are rising to this unprecedented challenge in a way that symbolizes our resilience, our character and strength,” the company had said.
“With our contribution we will together take the charge in our fight against the Coronavirus. These are the organisations we as a company will work in adhering to their needs and will interact with suppliers so that we can deploy our contribution in the most impactful way.
“Famfa Oil Ltd commends the efforts made by the Federal and State Governments towards the fight against the pandemic in Nigeria and enjoin all Nigerians to follow stipulated health guidelines in order to keep us all safe. May God Bless our country Nigeria.”
Also, on March 30, 2020, Mrs. Alakija, through her Rose of Sharon Foundation (ROSF) pledged to give N25,000 each to widows and orphans across all the six geo-political zones of the country to cushion the effect of the lockdown declared by the federal and state governments in the wake of the pandemic.
According to a statement by the foundation, the money was given to widows and orphans across the 36 states of the country registered with the ROSF.
Recognising the vulnerability of widows and orphans at that time, the foundation, chaired by Mr. Alakija, promised that none of its beneficiaries would go hungry. The pledge didn’t go unfulfilled.
The interventions did not stop there. In May, Mrs. Alakija partnered with CACOVID to set up well-equipped COVID-19 isolation centres in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. This was at a time these cities were grappling with rising cases of the disease and needed more bed spaces to isolate and treat cases.
The couple, who got married in November 1976, have devoted their lives to philanthropy and they didn’t hide when Nigeria, hit by the most deadly pandemic in over a century, needed their financial support.
For their moral, financial, and material support in the face of the deadly virus, the Alakijas are our #ALEDEHCOVID-19Heroes of the week.