The total amount donated to various camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), across the country by the Dangote Foundation has grown significantly to N6. 3 billion in five years, the Dangote Group Media Office has said.
This followed the donation of N2 billion, as a palliative, to the lift of IDPs in camps in Bornu state, by Alhaji Aliko Dangote who also described humanitarian situation in the North East as requiring urgent assistance.
According to the Media Office, the sum of N364 million was donated to IDPs across Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the post-election violence in 2011 had rendered many homeless while in another sum of N100 million and N60 million were respectively donated to victims of flood disaster in Lagos and Oyo State in 2011.
Dangote Foundation donated N2.5 billion in 2012 to IDPs affected by the flood disaster across 22 states of the federation and N39.34 million to those IDPs displaced by the communal clash in Benue state in 2014.
While N42.5 million was used in feeding 5000 IDP households across Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states last year, N100 million and N50 million were respectively contributed to the Appeal fund raised by Daily Trust to cater for the IDPs in the Northeast and to support the Adamawa Peace Initiative all for the IDPs. The sum of N1 billion was also recently pledged to Victim Support Fund for IDPs across the Northeast.
Moved by the plight of the estimated 1.7 million people displaced by Boko Haram, and who were said to be consuming close to 2,000 bags of rice daily, Dangote assured the Borno state government and the IDPs that he would do everything within his powers to assist them and improve on their condition. He also made a commitment to end malnutrition and hunger in the camps and other parts of the country.
“The first major challenge is the physiological needs of these people, and food, nutrition rank right on top of that ladder. So we will first make serious effort to ensure that hunger is eliminated from the IDP camps and thereafter, we will begin to make effort to create jobs and boost entrepreneurship.
“The effort to create jobs and boost enterprise in this case will not be about making money or returning investment, rather it will be primarily to create opportunities for the people,” he said.
Also speaking during the visit, the Executive Director of Dangote Group, Halima Aliko-Dangote, assured the IDPs that Dangote foundation will live up to its promise of supporting them and meeting them at their point of need, praying that their travails will soon be over. She stressed that her father, apart from the direct support he would be giving to the people, would also pull his partners and contacts in the private sector to collaborate and support the people of the state.
“As executive director on the board of the foundation, it was very important for me and others to visit the IDP camps in Borno State ourselves. This experience has solidified our commitment to support the people during this difficult time,” she said.
Managing Director and CEO, Dangote Foundation, Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, stressed that after dealing with the issue of hunger, the group will begin to boost education for children in the camps as well as create opportunities for enterprise.
“This is not the first time that I have visited IDP camps and I can assure you that Dangote Foundation’s commitment to easing the suffering of our fellow Nigerians is total.
“As early as next week, we will be meeting with the governor and his team to immediately start to bring relief and begin to plan medium-term strategies especially around education.
“We will deploy all within our capacity, both man and material, to ensure that we improve the lives of these people,” she said.
Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, after the tour, conveyed the gratitude of the government and people of the state to the Dangote Group for its concern for the plight of the people of his state who he said had suffered unimaginable devastation.
“Words are not enough to say how grateful we are and we must thank Aliko Dangote. In this crisis, he has stood with us firmly. Initially he gave us N400,000,000 to alleviate the suffering of our people and it was given to 40,000 people in Borno.
“Our people are in dire straits and there is only so much that we can do with our limited resources. But you have done so much for us, you have given money, you have given food – spaghetti, rice, sugar and so on. Only Allah will compensate you,” Shettima said.
Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, in his remarks, said that the people of the state are peace loving and humble, stressing that the mayhem of Boko Haram which had seriously challenged the state was perpetrated by people from outside the state and even outside the country.
He expressed gratitude to the Dangote Group for the gesture and encouraged other well-meaning Nigerians to tow the same line in order to help the state get back on its feet.