Some of Nigeria’s most influential and powerful business leaders travelled to Maiduguri on Tuesday in a first-ever collective visit to camps for internally displaced people where aid agencies have been responding to the most urgent needs of women, men, and children freshly displaced by the ongoing conflict.
Mr. Adewale Tinubu, Group CEO of Oando Plc, one of Nigeria’s largest indigenous energy companies, led a delegation that included Access Bank’s Group Managing Director Mr. Herbert Wigwe, and former chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Mr. Kyari Bukar, among other private sector leaders. They joined the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, and other UN representatives on a visit to two IDP camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where they met people whose lives have been uprooted by the ongoing crisis.
“The humanitarian community has been working tirelessly to provide shelter, food, health care and other basic needs to families who have been left with little or nothing. To see CEOs of banks and energy companies show compassion for the mothers and fathers, daughters and sons affected by this crisis brings a new beacon of hope for people who have endured too much. Together with the leading business minds in Nigeria, there is so much more we can do for Nigeria’s most vulnerable people,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.
The visit was part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI), a groundbreaking global initiative created in Nigeria that will see companies join donor countries in pooling donations and resources together. The platform aims to create a more collaborative and effective response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has affected over 7 million people in Nigeria’s north-east, 80 percent of whom are women and children.
“This initiative is about Nigerians helping Nigerians. Today I have witnessed some of the most vulnerable people; women and children in the most dire circumstances. Having seen the magnitude of their humanitarian needs, it is obvious that it is not a task that the Government or any one agency can take on alone,” said Mr. Adewale Tinubu. “The onus is on us to use our position to repair, nurture, build and sustain our society and pave a path for a truly inclusive economy,” Mr. Tinubu added.
The delegation also met with the Executive Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima who welcomed this unique partnership. “I am very glad that the Nigerian private sector, a very vibrant sector, is at the vanguard of driving this program. In the UN, Nigeria’s private sector has found a partner that has the integrity to truly make things work”, Governor Shettima stated.
Fourteen of the biggest companies in Nigeria signed up to the initiative launched in Lagos in November 2018, which will harness their financial resources, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial drive in support of the humanitarian response in the affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. The NHF-PSI offers a measurable and accountable platform for companies to pool their resources together to more effectively transform the lives of millions of their fellow Nigerians.
To date, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has raised $83 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of seventeen donor countries. Nigeria boasts one of Africa’s largest economies with an emerging and thriving private sector globally. The United Nations and founding private sector members of the initiative are urging more businesses to come together and collaborate under the platform of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative.