Just Tuesday we commended the National Oil Company (NOCAL), which we described as “the new kid on the block in Liberia’s corporate environment,” for leading this highly lucrative sector in the fight against Ebola. We urged NOCAL to ensure that the petroleum giants, which indeed consider NOCAL their local parent body, to join in the fight to expel this deadly virus from Liberia’s shores.
Yesterday, Daily Observer Business Correspondent George Kennedy told the nation that petroleum giant ExxonMobil had come forward to match NOCAL by contributing US$150,000 to the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS). The money is intended to enhance LNRCS’ outreach, already in 12 of the nation’s 15 counties in the anti-Ebola crusade.
This is not the company’s first intervention in the fight against Ebola. The company’s official for governmental affairs, Nathaniel Jallah, announced during Monday’s presentation that not long after Ebola broke out in Liberia, ExxonMobil contributed US$75,000 to Plan International to support its public health efforts. So this brings to US$225,000 ExxonMobil’s contribution to the fight against the epidemic.
The Daily Observer has reliably learnt that CHEVRON, another major world player in the petroleum industry, also present in Liberia, has purchased US$200,000 worth of materials, including much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), for medical and health workers, who are in what President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called “the frontline” of the fight against the Ebola virus.
We have learnt that Chevron had requested NOCAL to donate US$27,000 for the shipment of these supplies to Liberia. We doubt whether Chevron really needs that assistance, since it is a very well off multinational corporation. Still, Liberians are grateful for theirs and all other contribution.
The banking sector, which is also part of the corporate world, has taken a keen interest in the anti-Ebola crusade. To begin with, we understand that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has been giving the government fullest cooperation in the anti-Ebola combat. The Ministry of Finance has confirmed that that it was CBL that arranged the “bridge financing” of US$5 million to GOL for its initial input toward the anti-Ebola campaign.
Deputy Finance Minister James F. Kollie recently announced that CBL had made its own contribution of US$100,000 to the fight.
Last week three other local banks joined in. Ecobank donated an ambulance. And on Monday, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) handed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the keys to a US$19,000 truck as logistical support in the fight.
We must recall that UBA’s Group chairman, Tony Elumelu, earlier contributed US$100,000 to the government.
Substantial donations continue to pour in even from the non-corporate world. Last Thursday the National Mandingo Caucus of Liberia (NMCL) gave to the National Task Force two ambulances. Former NMCL leader Musa Bility also indicated that they were feeding at least 30 homes that had been quarantined.
As President Sirleaf has said on numerous occasions, all of us, citizens and residents alike, must, as a united front, confront this calamity that has befallen our country. We should all do what little we can, including obeying strictly the hygiene and other rules. We, however, understand that the many cultural and religious practices are still resistant to these rules; and that several communities continue to wash Ebola bodies. This is having a catastrophic effect on these communities, as more and more people are catching the virus and dying.
The leaders of those communities must prevail on their people to give up these customs for now in the interest of saving lives. Otherwise we are feeding the plot which has allegedly been planted in West Africa by certain powerful nations—the plot to halt Africa’s increasing population growth. These people fear—fear on whose behalf, we do not know—that by a certain date, Africa’s population will surpass India’s and China’s.
Ebola has reminded us of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. He said we, in this particular case we Africans, “wrestle not against flesh and blood,” but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
We, in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the whole of Africa, must all confront this implanted plague with faith, resolve and everything else it takes to remove it far from our shores.