By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Over a million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State are to benefit from the food and food supplements, drugs and clothes donated to them by a not-for-profit organisation headed by Ms. Modupe Ozolua, Empower 54.
Speaking at the flag off of the distribution of the relief materials in Maiduguri, the state capital at the weekend, Ozolua said she was particularly moved to be back in Borno State with the materials for the IDPs, having been motivated by the rising cases of malnutrition in Bama last year.
She disclosed that the container loaded with items brought for distribution in Borno State was worth $3 million, and part of her organisation’s goal to distribute six more containers with goods valued at $18 million on the African continent.
She said the relief materials excluded food supplements given to her to distribute to IDPs in Borno by one of her sponsors.
She revealed that she will be distributing the items during the week all over Borno State in conjunction with the state government.
Ozolua, a Benin indigene of royal birth, commended the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima for providing creditable leadership in these trying times.
She said but for the efforts made by the governor, scores of children would have died of malnutrition in the state.
Responding, the governor pleaded for more support for the state, insisting that the needs were just too massive and many more needed to get involved in the humanitarian efforts in the state.
Ozolua is an Nigerian-American philanthropist and entrepreneur. She is also the CEO of Body Enhancement Limited which pioneered cosmetic surgery in Nigeria in 2001 and aesthetic laser treatment in 2007.
She is the Founder and President of Empower 54 Project Initiatives (Empower 54), formerly known as Body Enhancement Annual Reconstructive Surgery (BEARS) Foundation.
In 2003, she founded the non-profit organisation, Empower 54, which also offers humanitarian programmes to underprivileged women and refugees.
Her dedication to humanity has earned her great recognition, with the Nigerian media giving her the title “Angel of Mercy” which was also endorsed by His Emeritus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, while the IDPs in North-east Nigeria call her “Sarauniyar Alheri”, meaning the “Princess of Goodness”.
In 2016, Elle Magazine, South Africa recognised Ozolua’s impact on the African continent as one of The Incredible: 50 African Women who shape the African continent.