By Abraham Olatokunbo
Twenty-four ventilators has arrived the country from Saudi Arabia for the ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
This is part of other medical equipment donated by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The other equipment being awaited before the support will be given to Nigerian government include 25,000 surgical sterile gowns, 125,000 non-sterile surgical gowns, 188,000 KN95 masks, 1,606,700 surgical masks and 9,500 nitrile gloves.
According to a statement signed by the Deputy Ambassador of Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Nigeria, Ibrahim Alghamedi, the donation was part of Saudi Arabia’s $500 million donation to support the international effort towards combating COVID-19.
He noted that has part of this his country has earmarked the donation of $24 million as aid in kind to 26 countries.
He revealed that the donation to Nigerian government was worth $1 million.
In a related development, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and King Salman Relief Foundation (KSRF) on Tuesday donated 7,972 of 25kg bags of rice and beans with condiments for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states.
Flagging off the ceremony at the Zonal Head Office of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Maiduguri, the Deputy Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Alghamedi said, the gesture is extended to internally displaced persons in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states.
He said, the cordial relationship that exist between Saudi Arabia and the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a good omen, noting that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is interested in enhancing these relationships by offering aids, especially in Borno and other crisis prone communities without any discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnicity.
He noted that since 2018, more than 600,000 people have benefitted from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, this is because of the donation by the Foundation of the Humanitarian food assistance that is worth $10 million, in which, one hundred and forty thousand and sixty eight food baskets have been distributed already in Borno and Yobe states.
The Deputy Ambassador pointed out that, apart from these interventions, the Kingdom has carried out a number of voluntary medical campaigns in Oyo and Nassarawa states to combat blindness and its causes, in which, 8,000 patients suffering from cataract and glaucoma benefitted.
He said. “We are here to flag off the distribution of 3972 bags of 25kg rice, 3972 bags of 25kg beans and 3972 cartons of maggi, vegetable oil among other condiments.
These items which was donated to IDPs in Borno by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be given to each households living in the camps.
He added that: “The gesture is to cover three states of Borno, Yobe and Zamfara respectively.”
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Faruq who was represented by Senior Special Assitant to President Buhari on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Disaster Management, Mallam Musa Bugudu, commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the humanitarian intervention to the victims of insurgency in Borno State.
He said the intervention which is worth $1,147,310 is for Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states, while emphasizing that the items will be distributed directly to the affected people through the combined efforts of Nantional Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in each of the three states.
Bugudu said, each household is expected to have 59.8 kilograms basket of food made up of rice, white iron beans, masa product, tomato (tasty tom), salt, maggi and vegetable oil.
The North East Zonal Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mrs Lydia Wagami, who represented the Director General of her agency, AVM Muhammadu Mohammed (rtd.) and the Director General, Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Yabawa Kolo, expressed delight and described the gesture as timely.
They said it would go along way in complimenting efforts of the government to cushion the hardship among IDPs in the holy month of Ramadan.
The beneficiaries in their separate remarks thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the donation which they said, would better their lives during the Ramadan fasting, and urged other countries to emulate.