Many Nigerians have reacted as the Federal Ministry of Finance on Wednesday openly solicited via Twitter for the distribution of ventilators to the country from Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, an American electric car company, due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak.
In his tweet on Wednesday, Musk said his company has in its custody extra ventilators approved by the US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He, however, gave conditions that the machine must be used immediately and would only be delivered in region where his company operates.
“We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions. Device & shipping cost are free. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse. Please me or @Tesla know,” the entrepreneur’s tweet read.
The Ministry of Finance replied via its official Twitter handle, soliciting assistance for the supply of 100-500 ventilators due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The ministry, however, apparently deleted the tweet after generating a strong backlash.
In a statement on Thursday, Yunusa Abdullahi, the Special Adviser, Media and Communications, to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said the tweet was ‘unauthorised’ and had been pulled down.
“An unauthorised post was made on the verified Twitter handle of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning,” he said. “The fact of the post is regrettable because of which it is brought down. “We have made sure our internal processes are strengthened that such doesn’t happen again. The error is highly regrettable.”
But that did not stop Nigerians from expressing their views on the matter.
While some Nigerians opined that there was nothing wrong soliciting for assistance, many others questioned the approach employed by the Finance Ministry.
Some argued that there were more tactful ways through which the ministry could have channelled the request, while others said the Ministry of Health or the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were the more appropriate government bodies to have made such request.
See Nigerians’ response to the Finance Ministry’s tweet below:
FG is begging Elon musk and Tesla for ventilators, but Innoson offered the same government to produce ventilators but they ignored him.
And you're lauding them because of Ukraine's reply. Have we done half of what Ukraine has done so far?
Hello, @elonmusk I'd be grateful if I'll be given the opportunity to ensure effective distribution in my country Nigeria, else the ventilators will only be made available to the rich and not to isolation centres and facilities that need it.
Nigerian Senate reject bills to introduce Electric cars which was sponsored by Ben Bruce, Look at us now Federal Ministry of finance is doing begi begi from the world's largest producers of such cars. I pray he gives us sha. Even FG well Lives matter.
There is no point shaming @FinMinNigeria for asking for Ventilators… we can come back after all these Covid-19 is over to insult them but for now, Just tag @elonmusk to the tweet…We are in this Together!#ventilators
Dear Elon, Nigeria – the most populous black nation in the world with a population of 200 million citizens is in need of all forms of support @Tesla can render in this trying times. Help us defeat #COVID19 with ventilators and we’d be forever be grateful. 🙏🙏🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬
Dear @elonmusk , if you wish to help Nigerians, look for a way to come directly and help us. Our leaders are the most shameful in the world and will gladly undo the citizens for fun. We actually need the ventilators but @FinMinNigeria and the entire leadership is terrible!
Dear Elon, we need as many respirators as you can send us in Nigeria, any any other African country that asks. In Nigeria, we currently have 163 active cases, some of who are in critical condition. These numbers are rising daily. Thanks for your philanthropy.
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