By Ayo Onikoyi
Nigerian Afro-Cyborg singer, Bright Ukpabi, known all over Africa and the world as Mr. Dutch has laid bare once again his heart of gold as he has, through his foundation, Mr Dutch Foundation reached out to thousands of Nigerians through his “COVID-19 Food Relief Programme”.
The singer, who recently released a romantic song “Keys to My Heart” for lovers on St. Valentine’s Day, took his “COVID-19 Food Relief Programme” to four States of the federation, namely, Lagos State, Imo State, Edo State and the Federal Capital Territory. As his own form of palliative to cushion the adverse effect of the COVID-19 on the less privileged the foundation fed thousands in both Island and Mainland areas of Lagos, Owerri, Benin and Abuja.
“We have been able to feed more than 50 thousand people, although we were not really counting numbers of people but in some locations we reached out to 2 thousand people, some places were about 1 thousand while some locations were 5 hundred people. We went to different areas and States, distributing food, sometimes, we collaborate with restaurants to make the food and distribute to people everyday, we get the restaurants, send money to them, they prepare the food and package it while the volunteers takes it and distribute to people,” he said in a chat with VANGUARD.
“Sometimes I participate in sharing the food too. I was at Obalende area and we fed almost 4 thousand people on that day. We cooked in the morning and afternoon, we wore our masks and gloves and made sure we implemented the social distancing. We have been doing this to help people in the little way we can. We also look forward to having more sponsors and volunteers to join us,” he added.
The singer, who seems to have milk of human love running in his veins, did not provide the wherewithal all by himself, he had a lot of help from sponsors who contributed money to the course and volunteers to make the mission accomplishable while also observing all the rules of the lockdown.
He explained, “When I posted online I saw a lot of people who wanted to volunteer but we needed sponsors first before volunteers. We also didn’t want to go against the government policy of staying at home and social distancing. We just organised volunteers and avoided any mistakes. If you watch our video you would see that we observed social distancing between people and between us.”
The “Antidote” crooner also explained how he was able to set off the programme in four different States almost at the same time.
“I wasn’t physically present in all the locations so what I did was, to post online and request for sponsors and volunteers, some people sponsored with cash while some living in the States volunteered and distributed food, wearing our vest and polo, confirming we are an NGO so the police allow them to distribute it to people in the street. Although I didn’t participate in all the locations but I organized volunteers from different States and our representatives in those States did the follow up,” he said.
In the event of extension of the lockdown Mr Dutch has promised to continue to feed the poor and maintained there are plans to reach out to more States of the nation.
“We are looking forward to reaching out to Abia State, Ogun State, Benue State and other States of Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Dutch is an accomplished singer with hits like ‘Antidote’, ‘Better Soup’ and ‘Eno Finish’ featuring Burna Boy. His first song of 2020 is “Keys to My Heart”, a song dedicated to lovers on St Valentine’s Day.