FirstBank promotes cultural heritage at Calabar Carnival

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First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria's leading customer centric bank, has

restated its unwavering commitment to continually work with Cross River

State and other relevant government agencies, in the execution of the

annual Calabar Carnival in line with its resolve to promote culture and

Having come through a rich heritage of almost 120 years, the bank, since

2004, has continued to play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the

Speaking at the Governor's Masked Fete, held at Emporium B, Tinapa

Business Resort in Calabar, Saturday, Etu Effiwatt, Business Development

Manager at FirstBank, said the banks' rich heritage supports the promotion

of festivals as it strives to uphold the exquisite legacies of the

nation's diverse cultures.
He pointed out that the carnival has transformed the state into a haven of

peace and multi-faceted development. “Cross River State is, creditably, a

desirable destination for tourists, businessmen and investors”.

According to him, the commitment of Liyel Imoke, governor of the state,

towards sustaining the carnival initiative has yielded huge returns in the

area of tourism, foreign investment inflows, and economic development.

“At FirstBank, we pride ourselves in our corporate social responsibility

and sponsorship initiatives which encompass the banks commitment to being

a major contributor to the social, economic and cultural development of

our dear country, Nigeria beyond the provision of financial services to

our teeming customers”, Effiwatt said.
The Governor Mask Fete is a charity event designed specifically to create

the much needed awareness on pneumonia. Statistics have shown that

pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children especially in

developing nations, killing an estimated 1.1 million children under the

age of five annually – more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis

combined. The disease is said to be more prevalent in South Asia and

sub-Saharan Africa with about 156 million new pneumonia cases reported

each year in the developing countries. Nigeria, Africa's most populous

nation, is one of the most affected countries in the world as 560, 000

children suffer from pneumonia annually. The struggle to rid the state of

the scourge gave rise to the Breath of Life (BOL) initiative.

An initiative of Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment

Realisation (POWER), a non-governmental organisation founded by the wife

of the Cross River State Governor, BOL is looking to sensitise the public

on simple but effective ways of protecting and preventing pneumonia

particularly in children.
As part of its achievement, the BOL initiative, in May 2010, facilitated

the treatment of 12 under-five children diagnosed with pneumococcal

infections out of the 45 children screened within 3 hours at the “Kick-out

Pneumonia” campaign in Biase LGA. The state government has also continued

to mobilise funds to carry out planned BOL activities through grant

applications, receipt and through organisation of charity events.

One of such high-powered events is the Governor's Masked Fete, for which

proceeds got to BOL. According to Imoke, the most significant drawback

hindering the eradication of the pneumonia scourge in the state is the

high cost of vaccinations and treatment. This prevailing situation, the

governor added, has led to high mortality rates in the country.

“For instance, a vaccine cost N8, 000. So, if you wanted to vaccinate 1

million children, that would amount to N800 million”, he stated. As a

country, Imoke pointed out that Nigeria has been unable to attract the

right donor nations to provide requisite support funding to fight the

disease. “The reasons are beyond the control of Cross River State. As a

state, we are in pole position to attract the right funding.

“But when donor nation evaluate our overall performance as a nation, then

we do not meet the cut”, he added. He decried Nigeria's inability to meet

minimum targets that would ensure that donor countries contribute

financially to the eradication of pneumonia. In view of this, the Cross

River State governor called for heightened awareness on protective and

preventive strategies against pneumonia particularly amongst the primary

caregivers. FirstBank, noted for several high-level interventions in the

area of improving healthcare delivery, pledged its support towards

eradicating pneumonia in the state. FirstBank Ltd, has solidified itself

as a brand of fortitude, strength and innovation in the Nigerian financial

sector since its inception in 1894.