The N2 billion village donated by the Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will go a long way in not only alleviating the sufferings of the people in the camps but also in reducing the acute housing deficits in the country.
Speaking to Daily Sun on the gesture, Rev. Olurotimi O. Onabanjo, Director of Lands, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, said any effort made by any spirited Nigerian of affluence to reduce the suffering of the poor masses will always be rewarded one way or the other.
Onabanjo, however, adviced that the houses be used for the purpose they were donated. According to him, “if the houses will be put up for sale, they must be affordable to the people and made to benefit those in mind for the gesture. It is a good thing that people are coming to the rescue of these displaced people for that is the only way one can benefit from his neighbours. The IDPs will benefit immensely from that because it is better imagined, the kind of suffering going on there.
“Another aspect they may also need help is in agriculture so that they don’t die off of hunger. If they stay in the house not doing anything, those helping will at a stage get tired and stop. At that time, apathy will not allow them to try their hands again. When they go into agriculture and perchance, tomatoes cultivation and the market booms, they get their lives back,” he said.
According to Dangote, the village in Maiduguri will be a self-sufficient set of 200 housing units worth N2 billion, with school, hospital, irrigation farms and poultry farms, among others, to enable the occupants eke out livelyhood.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, noted that about N7 billion has been donated to support displaced persons affected by the Boko Haram crisis in the North East. To make the IDPs start off, Dangote pledged a N100,000 empowerment scheme for each of the beneficiaries.
He also pledged that the foundation will take care of teachers’ emolument for five years as well as share in the burden of the ongoing educational revolution launched by the Governor of the state, Kashim Shettima. A visibly elated Shettima, said the intervention was unprecedented and gargantuan by a single company, describing the Aliko Dangote Foundation as the fourth arm of government in the state.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony yesterday, Governor Shettima, reminded the gathering that the Dangote Group is the single largest employer of labour outside government in Nigeria. “In every clime and in every dispensation, there are three layers of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. I dear to add that the fourth layer in Borno State is the Aliko Dangote Foundation. For the past seven years, the foundation has been consistent in hearkening to the yearnings and aspirations of people of the state,” the Governor said.
He said the Dangote Village provided by the foundation, though very massive, is a “tip of the iceberg” compared to what the foundation has done to support humanitarian relief in the troubled region.