To an average Nigerian, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is the number one richest man is Africa, to the international community, he is a an astute businessman and a risk taker but to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs’) who were ravaged by war in the North-East, Dangote is a Godsent messiah that has been meeting them at their point of need.
Dangote has been the only Nigerian from the private sector that has invested so much in the welfare and wellbeing of the IDP since the start of insurgency in Nigeria.
So far, the African richest man has invested over N6.3bn in five years on the welfare and wellbeing of the internally displaces persons in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno state.
Cash donated to IDPs’
In 2011, the sum of N364 million was donated to IDPs across Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the post-election violence in 201.
The crisis had rendered many homeless while in another sum of N100 million and N60 million were respectively donated to victims of flood disaster in Lagos and Oyo States 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 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.
Last week, Dangote made an individual donation of N2 billion to IDP camp in Borno state. Dangote when he visited Maiduguri, the Borno state capital equally made a commitment to end malnutrition, hunger and starvation in the camps and other parts of the country. He said the first tranche of N2 billion would be immediately disbursed towards ending what has become a major humanitarian crisis in the country
Dangote to feed IDPs during Ramadan
Aside donating cash to the IDP camps, Alhaji Dangote has promised to feed all internally displaced persons during the Muslim holy month of Ramadam.
It was gathered that the billionaire made the promise in Maiduguri during a visit to the Shehu of Borno.
Also recently, moved by the plight of the estimated 1.7 million people displaced by Boko Haram, and who were said to be consuming close to 2,000 bags of rice daily, Dangote assured the Borno state government and the IDPs that he would do everything within his powers to assist them and improve on their condition. He also made a commitment to end malnutrition and hunger in the camps and other parts of the country.
“I am here to see the IDPs by myself. This is my first time to visit IDPs in Borno but I want to assure you that it will not be the last. We shall continue to work with the State government to make sure the IDP camps are hunger free,” Dangote said.
“As I said earlier when I visited the IDP camps, our partnership with Borno State aims to create jobs for our people. Also I assure you that the entire food for IDPs during Ramadan will be given by the Dangote Foundation to assist the State government,” he pledged.
Industrializing war-torn Yobe, Borno and Adamawa
Dangote said apart from the funds and food items that will be donated by his company through the Dangote Foundation, he would explore avenues to drive investments and production in the war torn states in order to promote entrepreneurship and create opportunities for the people to work and earn a decent living in the course of time.
“This is not the first time I am coming here and it will not be the last. So far, we have expended about N1.2 billion in efforts to alleviate the suffering of IDPs across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
“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.
Dangote expressed concern over the living conditions of the estimated 1.7 million people displaced in the state, making it the third place globally with the highest number of displaced persons after Syria and Afghanistan.
Dangote to rally support for IDP in private sector
The Executive Director of Dangote Group, Halima Aliko-Dangote, 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.
“As executive director on the board of the foundation, it was very important for me and others to actuality visit the IDP camps in Borno State ourselves. This experience has solidified our commitment to support the people during this difficult time,” she said.
The Managing Director and CEO, Dangote Foundation, Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, stressed that after dealing with the issue of hunger, the group will begin to boost education for children in the camps as well as create opportunities for enterprise.
“This is not the first time that I have visited the IDP camps and the Dangote Foundation’s commitment to easing the suffering of our fellow Nigerians is total.
“As early as next week, we will be meeting with the governor and his team to immediately start to bring relief and begin to think of medium-term strategies especially around education.”We will deploy all within our capacity, both man and material, to ensure that we improve the lives of these people,” she said.
Reactions to Dango-te’s gesture to IDP
The Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, appreciated Dangote Group for its concern for the plight of the people of his state who he said had suffered unimaginable devastation.
“Words are not enough to say how grateful we are and we must thank Aliko Dangote. In this crisis, he has stood with us firmly. Initially he gave us N400,000,000 to alleviate the suffering of our people and it was given to 40,000 people in Borno. “Our people are in dire straits and there is only not much that we can do with our limited resources. But you have done so much for us, you have given money, you have given food – spaghetti, rice, sugar and so on. Only Allah will compensate you,” Shettima said.
The Shehu of Borno, Umar Garbai Ibn Elkannemi, expressed satisfaction to the kind gesture of Dangote.
He also appreciated him for his kindness, support and spending to the IDPs. The emir also urged well-meaning Nigerians to emulate his gesture.