#EndSARS: CACOVID to repair 44 demaged police stations

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….To procure N100b equipment for police, to deploy N150b for youth program, others

The Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) formed in March 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Deposit Money Banks along with key stakeholders in the private sector following the funding challenge faced by Federal and State governments and the need to improve the capacity of health institutions to deal with emerging cases of COVID-19, has rolled out further intervention initiatives to secure not only businesses but also the country.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele in a speech at the press briefing on the response of the Bank and Bankers’ Committee on CACOVID confirmed that group received an outpouring of support from over 200 well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organizations to the tune of N39,646,100,039.00 in support of the fight against COVID-19.

On the expenditure side, he said CACOVID had far incurred expenditure , in the sum of N43,272,562,831 on the acquisition of , not only medical equipment and supplies , but also Food palliatives for the vulnerable amongst us.

Speaking further on how the fund was disbursed, he said, it was used to support three key priorities which include;

*Medical Facilities and Equipment – Working with other stakeholders, CACOVID developed39 fully equipped isolation centers across the 36 States of the Country including the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) . The sum of N4,194,262,899 was spent in Building Isolation Centers. In addition, medical equipments such as PCR test kits for suspected cases of COVID-19were procured along with other required medical items at a cost of N9,017,561,723. This support by CACOVIDenabledmany states to deal with an unexpected surge in cases of COVID-19.

*Food relief programs – As part of our efforts to cushion the effects of the lockdown onvulnerable Nigerians affected by the restrictions in movement, CACOVID provided palliatives in the form of essential food items to 1.7m households, which is equivalent to supporting 8 million Nigerians. A total of N28,767,590,517 was spent procuring these Food supplies.These palliatives were acknowledged and disbursed by various state governments; and a schedule showing the various quantities and dates of delivery will also be posted on our website for public scrutiny. Our intention for distributing these items through the State Government , just like in the case of the isolation centers was based on the thinking that the state governments has the closest contacts with the most vulnerable in our society for whom these support were meant.

*Communication Plans –CACOVID also worked to improve awareness in rural communities on the COVID-19 virus, and the measures community health workers and other members of society should take when someone in the community is suspected of having symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. Print, TV, radio and social media were leveraged as part of CACOVID communication plans.

With the approval of Mr President for the group to operate under the CACOVID template, he listed series of interventions that it would make in response to the recent End Sars Protest.

“As we are all aware, the aftermath of the EndSARS protest that took place in several parts of the country in October 2020, led to the vandalization of private and public assets, which includes business houses, shopping malls, banks and police stations. Many small and medium scale businesses that were affected have struggled to resume full business activities. In addition, the provision of security which is essential to the conduct of business activities has been hampered due to the damage of 44 police stations across the country. If left unattended, this situation could undermine confidence in our economy and derail the efforts of the government in enabling faster recovery of the Nigerian economy, following the impact of COVID-19,” he said.

He said the Bankers Committee and critical stakeholders in the private sector, under the auspices of the CACOVID alliance, held series of meetings towards developing measures that will support the government’s efforts in rebuilding confidence in our nation’s economy.

Some of the measures which he said were agreed upon by the CACOVID alliance include; Banks and financial institutions would be required to extend relief through concessionary loans to affected businesses and firms, so they can rebuild and restock their stores and continue to conduct their business activities; CACOVID has committed to fully rehabilitate all 44 damaged and destroyed police stations nationwide in a bid to restore provision of security in affected locations; To further strengthen the security apparatus in the country, CACOVID has committed to provide over N100bn to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigerian Police Force over the next 2 years; as our contribution to fully modernize the Nigerian Police; Our preliminary analysis indicates that unemployment particularly amongst the youth was a critical factor behind the unrest. As a result, CACOVID has committed to create a high impact youth development program that will provide technical and vocational education to over 4 million Nigerian youths over the next 5 years. Students will be trained on craftwork, plumbing, masonry , capentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria . Over N150bn is expected to be deployed towards the set up and implementation of the youth development program, which will be available at select training centers across the country; Selected students on conclusion of the program will be certified by the appropriate standards board and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits. So far, over N25bn will be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment’s to conduct business activities. The ultimate objective is to provide young Nigerians with employable skills sets that will enable them to live a gainful life. We believe this initiative can lead to the creation of over 4m jobs over the next five years; For the out of school graduates that possess certain Entrepreneural skills, CACOVID will be working with Bankers Committee to complete the Creative center at National Arts Theater Lagos in four select areas namely; ICT and software design / development, Fashion, Music and Movies. This project is expected to cost the Bankers Committee over N40 Billion; Given the impact the unrest had on the conduct of business activities, members of CACOVID has committed to develop a business continuity plan, that will enable businesses and firms to share timely information and resources to forestall physical or cyber-attacks, which could derail the smooth functioning of business activities in the country.

He said all the supports to be released in due course to Nigerians “represent some of the essential steps that are important in rebuilding trust and preventing future unrest within our communities.

“It would also complement the government’s efforts aimed at creating jobs for our youths and in strengthening the security apparatus in the country. More importantly, it would also prevent the challenges which have emanated from the protest, from affecting the long-term growth prospects for households and businesses in the country.”

He made it clear that providing adequate security is not only the task before the government but also that of the private sector as owners of business premises desire a secure environment to conduct their legitimate businesses.

“We therefore seize this opportunity to once again , appeal to members of the private sector , who we will be calling on again, to rally round CACOVID to secure not only our businesses but also our country. We also request the private sector to work with us to operate under this platform which has been approved by Mr President.”

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