By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Worried by the reported unhealthy conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in various camps across the country, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has called on well-meaning Nigerians to rise up to the occasion and assist government in ameliorating the situation in IDPs camps.
According to Dangote, this is the time wealthy Nigerians should stand up and be counted as thousands of fellow citizens are 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 he visited some of the camps in Maiduguri in Borno State urged Nigerians to have empathy for those in the camps.
Speaking during a visit by North East Development Coalition, Chairman of the Dangote Foundation said he was saddened by the reports of deaths and malnutrition in the camps, noting: “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 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 of 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 huge humanitarian assistance.
Within a spate of five years, the total amount donated to various camps of IDPs, across the country by the Dangote Foundation has grown significantly to N6.3 billion.
N364 million was donated to IDPs in Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the post-election violence in 2011 rendered many homeless while in another breath the 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 newspapers 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.
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 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 them 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.