Mr. Jim Ovia
By Davidson Iriekpen
The current efforts at generating funds for the rehabilitation of victims of the recent flood disaster across the country received a boost at the weekend when the Chairman of Visafone Telecommunication, Mr. Jim Ovia, donated N1 billion to the cause.
Besides, Ovia, a former Managing Director of Zenith Bank, promised that Visafone would set up emergency call centres across the country to curtail future natural disasters.
He assured Nigerians of the company’s continued determination to effectively give back to the society and make Nigeria a better place for all.
Ovia while imploring other corporate organisations not to be left out in the joint task of providing relief for the victims, said: “We have made our humble donation and we are still looking at other areas of assistance we can render.
“Plans are afoot towards setting up emergency call centres to mitigate the effect of future occurrence.
“Since it is a natural occurrence, we may not be able to stop it but at least, lessen the effect on both the people and our environment through timely action which the call centres can facilitate.”
In response to the flood disaster, the Federal Government, as a stop-gap measure, had announced the disbursement of N500 million to the highly impacted states, N300 million to the moderately impacted ones and N200 million to the least impacted states, to enable them cushion the effects of the flooding.
Thereafter, the Federal Government set up a 34-man Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation co-chaired by Aliko Dangote and Olisa Agbakoba which organised in Abuja, a dinner to raise fund for the victims of the disaster where about N11 billion was realised.
Dangote was however the highest donor, having donated N2.5 billion to the flood victims.
Ovia said his donation was informed by the need to support government in the onerous task of resettling the affected citizen who were currently sheltered in different camps in the states.
He explained that the victims having been displaced would be psychologically traumatised as a result of the untold misery and that it was the responsibility of fellow Nigerians to help them in this time of need.
According to him, “Millions of our compatriots are currently grappling with the reality of having lost their homes, farmlands and sources of livelihood to the flood and our natural instinct is for all to rally round them for succour and to alleviate their suffering.”
The Visafone founder pointed out that since the Federal Government had led the path towards the victims’ reintegration, it behoves on other well-meaning Nigerians to follow suit and contribute to the Fund to help their kinsmen at this moment of discomfort.
Meanwhile, Labour and the Organised Private Sector have commended the gesture of Visafone in partaking in the relief efforts describing it a good development which should be emulated by other telecommunications companies.
Henry Okechukwu of the cement sector of the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the donation by Visafone would go a long way in assisting the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to realise its mandate of providing succor to the victims.
In his own comment, Tajudeen Abegunde of the Iron and Steel Union lauded Visafone as the only visible telecommunications company during the fund raising, saying it only went to show that Visafone has displayed unparallel patriotism as an indigenous company that is ready to positively affect the people and environment within which it operates.
“It will be good if other telecom companies can follow Visafone’s example and donate generously to alleviate the pains of the victims of the flood disaster,” he stated.