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Danjuma donates N15bn to charity

By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—FORMER Defence Minister, Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), has donated N15 billion ($100 million) to provide free medical and education services for under-privileged Nigerians.

The donation, made to the TY Danjuma Foundation, would be distributed as grant through accredited non-governmental organisations, NGOs, to ensure effective implementation of the vision of the foundation.

Gen. Danjuma, who is the founder and Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the foundation, said at a consultative meeting, organised for NGOs in Abuja, yesterday, that activities of the foundation would cover the entire nation.

The board has already approved a number of commencement grants that were being implemented mostly in Taraba and Edo states.

According to him, “the theme of this meeting is a crucial one for our country. Nigeria is currently going a series of trials but most urgent are the abject poverty facing the country’s citizens and the weak state of our social sector, particularly the education and health sectors”.

The Former Chief of Army Staff, COAS, said, “the Nigerian government no matter how noble its intentions cannot address these challenges on its own”, adding, “in fact, in all developed countries, the implementation of social projects is never the sole responsibility of government.

“There are often strong collaborations between government, Non-Governmental Organisations as well as the private sector”.

Revealing how he made the huge financial success through which he founded the Foundation, the 72 year-old retired Army General recalled that, “I retired from the service early at 41 years because I got to the top early. I started shipping business and became reasonably rich.

Twelve years ago, I was allocated an oil block by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha (offshore south of Port Harcourt) near Sao Tome and Nigeria. We discovered a lot of oil. It took ten years (1998-2009) before we got our first oil.

Because of the prevailing high oil price, Danjuma said he decided to forward the selling to an international firm, a Chinese company which “we made over $1 billion. He said, “I paid my taxes and ended up with about $500 million”.

“I had a new problem on what to do with this money. In the bank they will steal it and if I keep it my children will fight over it. So I decided to set up a foundation and endow it enough money”.

He explained, “this is because services provided by the government in the past have disappeared and I drew up a long list of widows of those who served during the civil war and were killed.

“I wanted to solve all Nigeria’s problems but did not know how to do it and how to start. The only thing I knew about philanthropy is about money been given out and found that only a fraction of such money reaches the target.

It was on this note, he visited the United States on study tour of successful foundations and resolved that, “my Foundation, though Nigerian would operate with the same high standards and efficiency and would remain committed to changing lives for decades”.

The Foundation, which became operation in 2009 he said, the Board approved a number of commencement grants that were implemented mostly in Taraba and Edo States.

“My vision is that the Foundation will play a pivotal role in building a Nigeria where all citizens have access to quality health care, education and equal opportunities to realize their potentials”, he said.


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