The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), has donated N900million worth of food items to Kaduna State, the governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said.
According to him, this is the largest donation made to the state so far since the country began its battle against the COVID-19.
“The largest donation of food came from CA-COVID – the private sector group, led by Aliko Dangote group and others.
“They are providing N900 million worth of food items to Kaduna State. Our public servants are contributing about 700 million, the state government has raised 400 million from other donors,” the governor said on Saturday on a special state of the nation programme, The Platform.
Speaking further, he highlighted some major steps that the state is taking to curb the spread of the virus.
One of the steps include building a permanent infectious disease hospital which he believes will serve, even post-COVID-19.
“The one we have is just 16 beds, we are building a 199 bed-infectious diseases hospital which will be completed in the next eight weeks, the governor said.
“We are building infectious diseases wards in each of our general hospitals in each of the 23 local governments which will be 20 to 30 beds in each of the local governments and the main one here in Kaduna (the capital)”.
For the health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19, the governor said an insurance cover of N5 million has been provided for families of any health worker who dies in the line of duty.
“We took extraordinary steps to get PPE’s for our health workers. We’ve also insured their lives to the tune of N5 million – anyone that dies in this process, their family would get N5 million and we have also disability insurance for those that get sick and can’t work,” El-Rufai said.
According to him, even if livelihood and the economy, among other things would be affected, preserving the lives of residents from the virus has remained a priority.
“We had a trilemma on what to prioritise. Would it be lives, livelihood or liberty? We prioritised saving the lives of people,” he said.
“From day one, we decided that no matter what it costs us, we will do whatever we can to protect the people of Kaduna State.
“We’ll inconvenience people but apologise later. We’ll affect livelihoods negatively but apologise later and try to rebuild those livelihoods.
“The entire number of ICU beds in Nigeria at the onslaught of this pandemic was 350 for the entire country and in Kaduna we just have about 20 ICU beds.
“So, how are we going to handle the situation if we have 1,000 people requiring treatment.
“So, our best strategy was to prevent the spread of the virus,” he stressed.
Challenges determining who is poor
Governor El-Rufai also noted that food and other relief items are being distributed to the general public, especially the poor.
“We drew five million from the contingency fund of our 2020 budget and bought food items, packaged them and targeted nine urban local governments because most of those that are vulnerable are the urban poor because those that came from the urban areas to the cities looking for work.
“We are distributing food of approximately N2 billion to all the 23 local governments”.
The governor, however, admitted that there has been a challenge of identifying who the poor is because there isn’t any database to determine that.
Community leaders had been appointed to determine that but according to the governor, the process didn’t yield accurate results.
He, therefore, noted that going forward, the state would determine the poorest in the state by using their phone recharge purchase records.
“We believe that anyone that anyone that spends less than N200 per month on buying recharge card for his phone is poor and will need this food intervention”.