Worried at the reported unhealthy conditions of the internally displaced persons in various camps across the country, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has called on well-meaning Nigeria to rise up to the occasion and assist government in ameliorating the situation in IDPs camps.
Dangote said this was the time that wealthy Nigerians should stand up and be counted as thousands of fellow citizens were languishing in the camps due to insufficient facilities and food items.
The business mogul, who recently donated N2 billion and millions of Naira worth of food items on behalf of the Dangote Foundation, to the IDPs, when a visited some of the camps, in Maiduguri, in Bornu State, urged Nigerians to come to their aid.
Speaking during a visit by North East Development Coalition to his office at the weekend, Dangote said that he was particularly moved by the reports of deaths and malnutrition, which had hit the camps, saying “We cannot open our eyes and allow our fellow citizens continue to suffer like this for no fault of theirs. We need to partner with the government and help those in the camps.
“It is obvious government alone cannot cater for this people, not even at this time when there is a paucity fund. These people need our help and with what God has provided for us we need to help them”, he stated, while describing the situation in the entire North East as requiring all possible humanitarian assistance”.
Within a period of five years, the total amount donated to various camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), across the country by the Dangote Foundation has grown significantly to N6.3billion.
It would be recalled that a sum of N364 million was donated to IDPs in Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the post-election violence in 2011 rendered many homeless, while N100 million and N60 million were, respectively, donated to victims of flood disaster in Lagos and Oyo states 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 the a national newspapers to cater for the IDPs in the north-east 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.
Dangote promised the coalition that he would do everything within his power to assist the IDPs and improve their suffering. He also made a commitment to end malnutrition and hunger in the camps and other parts of the country.
He said: “The first major challenge is the physiological needs of these people, and food, nutrition rank 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, primarily, be to create opportunities for the people”, he said.
Also speaking during the visit, the Executive Director of Dangote Group, Halima Aliko-Dangote, assured them that Dangote Foundation would live up to its promise of supporting them and meeting them at their point of need, praying that their travails would soon be over. She stressed that her father, apart from the direct support he would give to the people, would also pull his partners and contacts in the private sector to collaborate and support the people of the state.
“As an executive director on the board of the foundation, I saw that it was very important for me and others to actuality visit the IDP camps in Borno State ourselves. This experience has solidified our commitment to support the people during this difficult time,” she said.
In his remark, the Head of the Coalition, Galadima Musa, commended the Dangotes for taking the lead, again, in the task of helping the IDPs in the North East, whom, he said, had suffered unimaginable devastation. “Words are not enough to say how grateful we are and we must thank Aliko Dangote”, he said.