By Hamza Suleiman /Maiduguri
The Aliko Dangote Foundation on Monday inaugurated 200 housing units and a school it constructed for widows and orphans among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Executive Chairman of the foundation said at the inauguration in Maiduguri that it was in fulfilment of a pledge he made two years ago.
He disclosed that the foundation had so far spent over N7 billion in providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by Boko Haram in the Northeast, and would provide N2 billion more.
Dangote said: “You may recall in the last two years when I first paid a visit to the IDPs camp, I made a pledge of N2 billion on behalf of Dangote foundation.
“The gesture was designed to support government to key into the reconstruction of houses that were destroyed and vandalised by Boko Haram.
“It was the decision of the government that the donation should be given in materials and not cash.
“It is against this backdrop and with consultation between the foundation and the state government that we provided building materials which included cement, aluminium roofing sheet, iron rods, ceiling as well as fabricated door and windows worth N1 billion to the state government.
“The 200 housing units would provide accommodation to the IDPs in Borno. Each house is self contained and is built to house a family.
“The state government had also provided skills acquisition kits to enable them become self reliant and enhance their livelihood.
“The state government also built a school for the education of the children which was one of the key aspects that we needed to look into.”
Dangote said that the foundation would release the second batch of N2 billion to continue with the construction of houses for vulnerable people.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to do more until the IDPs are reintegrated back to the society and are able to resume their normal productive lives,” he said.
He solicited for more donation by wealthy individuals towards the resettlement of the Boko Haram victims.
Earlier, Babagana Umara, the Commissioner of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Resettlement, disclosed that the building materials provided by Dangote foundation were for the construction of 1,000 housing units for widows.
Umara said after the conclusion of the first phase of the reconstruction, the government utilised the remaining materials for the rehabilitation of public structures in Bama, Gwoza, Askira Uba and Konduga local government areas.
“A school with a block of ten classrooms and library with well equipped facilities as well as clinic was also built in order to support the livelihood and health needs of the people.”
The commissioner announced that the beneficiaries would be supported with irrigation kits, poultry facilities and fish ponds to boost their means of livelihood.
Gov. Kashim Shettima commended the foundation for its humanitarian assistance, adding that Dangote presented the highest individual contribution and intervention to the IDPs.
He said that in two years ago, the foundation had donated 100 trailer loads of food and non food items to Boko Haram victims.
The governor noted that Zuwaira, Dangote’s daughter had also visited the state more than 20 times in support of the IDPs.
Hajia Yabawa Kolo, Chairperson of SEMA, said those that got the houses were among the most vulnerable persons across the 27 local government areas of the state.
“The beneficiaries cut across all faith, most of them lost their spouses and were left with a lot of children to take care of,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, Esther Kachallah, whose husband was killed by Boko Haram insurgents four years ago in Monguno thanked the foundation for providing them with a home.
“We get support from church where I sweep to make some money to feed the kids, I thank God I now have a house to call my own,” she said. (NAN)