The United Nations Nigerian Humanitarian Fund, made up of 14 private sector companies including Oando Plc and Access Bank Plc, have led the drive to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.
The fund, which was launched in November 2018, pooled funds from the private sector and donor countries to create a more collaborative and effective response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in North-East.
Some of the private companies are Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and Nigerian Economic Summit Group, among others.
A statement on Monday said the companies were acting as advocates, proactively raising awareness of the plight of Nigerians in the North-East.
It said the NHF-PSI was founded on the premise that Nigeria’s private sector not only cared for its nation’s most vulnerable, but also possessed the vision, resources and natural problem-solving ability to reduce it on an unprecedented scale if harnessed into collective action.
The statement read in part, “Since the start of the Boko Haram crisis, more than 27,000 people have been killed in the three north-eastern states, thousands of women and girls have been abducted and an estimated 823,000 people remain in areas that are currently not accessible by international humanitarian actors.
“To assess the situation firsthand, on May 14, 2019, Oando led a delegation that included the Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, and the former Chairman, NESG, Mr Kyari Bukar, to a first-ever collective tour of two internally displaced camps in Maiduguri, Borno.
“The objectives of the tour were also to raise awareness of the plight of the millions of people in the North-East, and more directly galvanise a new wave of donor support for the initiative from businesses and individuals across the country.”
The Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando, Mr Wale Tinubu said private sector leaders had a collective responsibility to lend diverse resources to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
He stated that the onus was on private sector leaders to use their position to repair, nurture, build and sustain the society and pave a path for a truly inclusive economy.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, said, “The humanitarian community has been working tirelessly to provide shelter, food, health care and other basic needs for families who have been left with little or nothing.
“To see directors of banks and energy companies show compassion for the mothers and fathers, daughters and sons affected by this crisis brings a new beacon of hope for people who have endured so much.”
Wigwe buttressed Tinubu’s point, saying, “We cannot keep looking for donor funded agencies from other countries to come and solve our problems. It is important to note that what is happening in the North-East can spiral to other parts of the country. So, we need to do what is required to stop it.”
He noted that each time the private sector in Nigeria stepped up to do something, they always succeeded.
“You can count on us that we will raise the money and continue to work with and support you to end this crisis. We know the government cannot do it alone, we will support the government,” Wigwe added.