By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
As more Nigerians are being evacuated from abroad, the Dangote Group, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has offered helping hands to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to provide testing for the returnees, to help curb the spread of the virus in the country.
The Foundation has since May this year, assisted the PTF to conduct tests for over 500 Nigerian returnees to determine their status and ensure adequate isolation of the virus positive patients where necessary across the country.
Besides, ADF has also assisted the Group subsidiaries to donate relief materials comprising food and cash to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in their host communities in the country. The gesture is in addition to the over N2 billion and other materials earlier donated by Dangote through the Private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to complement federal government efforts.
Specifically, ADF has helped the subsidiaries of the pan-African conglomerate to provide food palliatives such as Rice, Spaghetti, Noodles and Bread to host communities in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos; Ibese, Ogun; Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun; Okpella, Edo; Obajana, Kogi; Benue; and Ankpa, Kogi Coal Mines’ communities.
Zouera Youssoufou, the Chief Executive of the Foundation disclosed that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Foundation has on daily basis, been distributing bread to the vulnerable ones in the society, an indication of the company’s goal to reach and sustain connection with the people.
“The decision to offer help to the PTF to help them test returning Nigerians is yet another step in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, not only to develop the economic welfare of the Group subsidiaries host communities, but also to build a meaningful relationship with the people. The Foundation had earlier donated a 500-bed space isolation center, mobile testing laboratory, 10 ambulances and 3 official vehicles as part of its corporate support to Kano State.
Youssoufou said the donation of food to host communities was synonymous with the company’s CSR activities in Nigeria. “We realised that this is an unusual time and the pandemic has distorted the economy of everyone, so we now decided to provide the food relief materials to the Group subsidiaries’ host communities.”
According to her, this is the usual way that the company reciprocates the cordial relationship that it enjoys from the host communities, pointing out that the Group through the Foundation has so far assisted in the testing of over 1,000 people in Kano State, and provided Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), ambulances and SUVs in some other states in the northern part of the country.
She also hinted that ADF had signed agreement with the United Nations to purchase $4 million worth of testing supplies on behalf of CACOVID, while noting that the Foundation’s mission is to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.
Youssoufou stated that the ADF has empowered over 106,000 women across four states in Nigeria with about N1.1 billion as part of its empowerment programmes in the country.
“The initiative, which is part of the Dangote’s Micro-Grant scheme, is aimed at poverty amelioration through economic empowerment of women. Through this programme, the Foundation has been able to empower 23,000 women in Sokoto, 34,000 women in Katsina, 21,000 women in Kebbi and 28,000 women in Zamfara. The beneficiaries of this programme were selected from the communities with primary consideration for vulnerable women, food distressed households with infants or children under five years old, disabled, divorcees, widows, and extremely poor residents in these communities,” she said.