From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Founder, Home for the Needy Foundation, Benin City, Edo State, Pastor Solomon Folorunsho, yesterday, raised the alarm over paucity of funds and appealed to well-meaning individuals, corporate organizations and government agencies to come to the aid of thousands of children under the care of the foundation.
He said the foundation was in urgent financial need from volunteers to cater for the education of over 97 students the foundation is presently sponsoring in various universities and also provide food items to others in primary and secondary schools, adding that the foundation was catering for over 3,000 persons at its Internally Displaced Persons camp in Uhogua, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Pastor Folorunsho who made the appeal when our correspondent visited him at the camp, said the unending terrorism and banditry in the country has brought about upsurge in the number of persons coming to the camp for assistance.
He explained that the foundation is struggling with how to take proper care of the IDPs, following the upsurge which started 2014 arising from terrorism in the North-Eastern part of the country, coupled with the setback occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been providing for the needy in terms of feeding them and giving them education for many years, but for the displaced people, we started taking care of them from 2012 and 2013 when terrorism became rampant in the country particularly in the North-East.
“When they came it was very tough because we had no buildings to accommodate them then. The school we had then was just with few classrooms hence most of them were studying under the tree.
“Today, we have 97 of them in various universities. Some sat for the last NABTEB and made their papers so they are sitting for the next UTME. And after writing the JAMB, we are expecting to have roughly 50 of them who will be gaining admission into the university next year.
“Our staff, for almost two years, we have not paid them due to lack of funds. In fact, a lot of them, after staying for months without salary, would leave. Because of this, the people mainly running our school are volunteers and corps members”, he disclosed.
Pastor Folorunsho lamented that the IDP camp is not connected to national grid and had to depend on fuel and diesel to power generator, saying that it will be a joy to him and the children if the camp can be connected to the national grid.
He further said the children in the camp, over the years, have not been a threat to anyone or the society at large hence helping them would not endanger anyone or the society.
“They have never been a threat to anyone nor the society. For the years they have been here there has not been any report of them going to commit crime outside the camp.
“They are not injurious to anybody; they mean no harm to any body, so, all we are just asking for is help. Give us food to eat. Sponsor our education. There are other things especially for the girls but these are the major things”, he added.