…Distributes COVID-19 palliatives
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government has promised to provide a digital identification number to all internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami made the promised on Thursday while inaugurating 14 member Ministerial Committee on Palliatives distribution in Abuja.
The digital ID, according to the Minister would serve as the Federal government’s intervention through the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
The Minister said the palliatives from the parastatals came as part of his policy and intervention to the hardship and sufferings of Nigerians occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: ‘‘I earlier directed the parastatals on the 1st of May 2020 to play a role in providing some support to ameliorate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians. They have complied with this directive and provided some palliatives which we will distribute today.
‘‘We are all aware of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on virtually every country across the globe, including Nigeria.
‘‘The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has led to an inability of individuals and businesses to meet their needs due to constrained resources, a negative impact on employment, and a sense ‘of uncertainty, amongst others.
‘As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our country, it is important for us to support one another and remind ourselves to work together for the good of our fellow citizens. This is even reflected in the theme for the celebration- Together at 60!
‘‘The distribution of these palliatives is in recognition of our need to support each other to ease the economic hardship that a number of people experienced as a result of COVID-19. It is also in line with Ministerial Policies that I release from time to time.
‘‘We believe that the distribution of these palliatives will improve the indices of well-being and will put a smile on the faces of many Nigerians, encouraging them as we seek to forge ahead in spite of COVID-19.’’
Recall that the World Health Organisation (WHO), had on October 8, 2020, reported that close to 36 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported worldwide with a footprint across more than 210 countries and over 1 million deaths.
Similarly, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) noted that there have been 59,583 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,113 deaths in Nigeria.
The palliatives that were provided include 4 Ambulances fully equipped with ICU gadgets; 9000 bottles of hand sanitizers; 7,500 pieces of face masks; deployment of ICT infrastructure to meet the specific needs of the NCDC and stakeholders, e.g. customized application to help contain the virus spread and provision of 100 laptops; 120 infrared thermometers; food items to relevant communities in form of 3 trailer loads of rice and support in the distribution of emergency supplies.
Others are the provision of a dedicated satellite channel on the NIGCOMSAT Direct-to-Home platform for wider information dissemination; 20 sets of Personal Protective Equipment and ICT gadgets to support virtual meetings in Federal Public Institutions.
The palliatives were provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NigComSat), and Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST).
Membership of the ministerial committee was drawn from all the parastatals. They include Professor Adeolu Akande, NCC as Chairman; Dr. Abuabakar Saidu, NITDA as Co-Chairman; Professor Suleiman Mohammed, NITDA Member; Usman Malah NCC Member; Hadiza Baloni NIGCOMSAT Member; Nasiru Suleiman GALAXY Member; Mr. Franklin Alao NIPOST Member and Babagana Bashir NFIU Member.
Other members are Linus Gubbi ICPC Member; Mohammed Aminu EFCC Member; Amb. Splendour A. Agbonkpolo Coalition of Civil Society for Citizens Action Against COVID-19 Member; Dr. Kalli Zannah FMCDE Member; Isyaku Gwamna FMCDE Member and Barr. Hadiza Dagabana.
The committee is to partner with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and other Civil Society Organisations to ensure transparency in the distribution of the palliatives. They will also be part of the Committee.