NIGERIAN billionaire Aliko Dangote has offered to assist Liberia in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus disease.
Dangote, a Nigerian multi investor and an industrialist made the commitment in a telephone conversation with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday, according to a statement that was only released by the Liberian government on Sunday.
The Nigerian volunteered to assist Liberia with medical personnel and other human and material resources aimed at containing the spread of the virus, the statement added.He promised that his charity organization, the Dangote Foundation will work with the Liberian leader’s office to determine what assistance can be provided ranging from medical personnel as well as other professional healthcare workers.
President Sirleaf thanked Dangote and praised the Nigerian businessman for reaching out to the government and people of Liberia.
She said this assistance will go a long way to help rebuild the country’s healthcare system with highly skilled medical doctors and healthcare personnel during this critical period and beyond the Ebola virus disease.
Billionaires chip in
Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest person in the world and the richest man in Africa.Liberia is amongst three hardly hit West African countries that has lost over 4,000 lives with healthcare workers being mostly affected.
It is not known how much Dangote’s contribution will amount to, but he joins a small list of billionaires who have given money to the Ebola fight.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the world’s richest man, Bill Gates through his foundation pledged $50m – the largest donation so far by an individual. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan last announced plans to donate $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation to help fight Ebola.
Nigeria Ebola free
The announcement of Dangote’s contribution came ahead the announcement on Monday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declaring officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases.
WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a “spectacular success story”.
Nigeria won praise for its swift response after a Liberian diplomat brought the disease there in July.
The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile in further happy news from Nigeria, Public schools in Borno, the country’s restive northeast state, would reopen in November, the government said on Sunday.
The schools would reopen in the first or the second week of the month, Mohammed Dongel, chairman of the Committee on the Resuscitation of Primary School Education told reporters in Maiduguri, the state capital. Public schools were closed on March 14, after deadly attacks by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in schools in neighbouring Yobe.
Nigeria currently grapples with various security challenges, part of which is the insurgency of Boko Haram. The sect claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Nigeria in April, which was greeted with tons of condemnation locally and internationally.
Last week the Nigerian announced that it had reached a ceasefire with the militants, and that they would release the Chibok schoolgirls as part of the deal.
Many analysts doubted the Boko Haram officials who met with the government had the authority to make such commitments, and renewed clashes following the announcement suggest that it might have been made too hastily.