By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Gbenga Akanmu
The Lagos State government, Tuesday, launched an appeal fund in aid of the victims of the Haiti earthquake with a donation of $1 million.
This came as the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said the country should be prepared in the event of a natural disaster like earthquake.
The State Executive Council made the donation on behalf of the people and state government in response to the global appeal for aid.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, in a statement, the State Executive Council under the Chairmanship of Governor Babatunde Fashola took the decision after a review of the plight of Haitians in the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake in the country.
The statement said the fund would be lodged at the Skye Bank Plc for subsequent transmission to the on-going aid programmes in Haiti.
He added that members of the State Executive Council had also made individual donations of N150,000 each in support of the fund while all well-meaning members of the public and corporate organisations were also encouraged to support the fund.
Be prepared, Ikuforiji advises Nigerians
Speaking during the plenary yesterday, Ikuforiji noted that the dimension of the devastation should get Nigerians thinking, adding that Nigeria has had devastating occurrences like collapsed building and plane crashes in the past, but that the country could only do little to save the victims.
He said: â€œDevastation of higher dimensions have happened in other parts of the world, where people value lives so much and they have responded to them accordingly.
â€œHaiti is a black nation and one wonders why the country is yet to go beyond its current level in spite of its closeness to some developed countries. It is easier for the country to get relief because of her closeness to civilised nations,â€ he said.
According to the Speaker, â€œwe tend to be more selfish in this part of the world than others. We are proud of what people are ashamed of in many parts of the world.â€
â€œWe should look at the situation in Haiti, but we should also look at ourselves and see if we would have done better if such a disaster had occurred in Nigeria,â€ he said.
The state government said in the letter that it decided during its Executive Council meeting on Monday that a hand of compassion, at this time, from the people and government of Lagos State is not only appropriate, but a gesture of recognition â€œof our common heritage and ancestry to a people much in need at this time.
â€œAccordingly, we resolved to make a donation of $1,000,000.00 (One million United States dollars) on behalf of the government and people of Lagos State as a contribution to this humanitarian crisis of grave proportions.â€
Deputy Speaker of the House, Bola Badmus Olujobi, commended the state government for the gesture and called on other sectors to donate to the country and victims.
She said the donation should not be limited to cash, but to assist the country with professionals such as medical personnel to assist in treating the victims.
The House Minority Leader, Hodewu Suuru Avoseh, while adding his voice to the commendation, said that Nigerians should pray against such an occurrence.
Hon. Sinai Agunbiade urged the state government to also consider the issue of other communities in Lagos State, who are also suffering from environmental degradation, especially now that raining season is fast approaching.
He suggested that the House should call on the federal government, even if the president is not around, to enlist Nigeria among nations that show concernÂ for depressed people by donating to the victims.