The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has challenged telecommunications companies (Telcos) and other corporate organisations, including wealthy individuals to support humanitarian causes through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives as a way of helping to reduce the rate of poverty in the country.
The Minister who spoke at the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives season 4 in Lagos recently, applauded Airtel’s commitment and consistency in reaching the downtrodden and empowering them.
He urged other corporate organisations to follow in the footsteps of the telco in extending a helping hand to those in need.
“I think that the companies doing business in Nigeria who have been benefiting from the enabling environment in Nigeria and the individuals and businessmen who have been benefiting must certainly come to the rescue and multiply what Airtel has been doing,” he said.
He stated that government needed the support of the private sector, NGOs, philanthropists and other well-meaning organisations to eradicate hunger and poverty in the country by touching the lives less privilege people in the society.
The Minister also called on the National Assembly to inspire and encourage businesses in Nigeria to embark on CSR initiatives.
“On the part of government, I think particularly, the National Assembly, which is saddled with making laws for us, should also feel challenged by what we have seen Airtel do by trying to initiate laws, which would inspire or encourage corporate social responsibility to be a major issue in the running of businesses of Nigeria”, he said.
“I am sure that Airtel might have spent fortunes to do what they have done, it is my prayer that Almighty God will continue to prosper the management of Airtel Nigeria and to help prosper Airtel itself. I want to challenge all of us to make resolutions to touch lives in the same vein that Airtel has been doing” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said Airtel would not relent in its effort to restore hope and help the less privileged in the society in line with its vision of creating empowerment opportunities and making life better for Nigerians.
“I want to thank everyone and to encourage Nigerians that there is no limit to how kind anyone can be. My parting message is don’t spend your time asking why there are poor people in the world; it’s a waste of time.
“The right question is what can we do to change it? We are always going to have poor and unfortunate people amongst us. What next is what you can do to affect their circumstances and I am encouraging you to do something,” he said.
Since Airtel launched the Touching Lives initiative three years ago, it has achieved remarkable successes having restored hope of despaired individuals and families, saved many from the throes of death and empowered many underprivileged Nigerians.
The event was attended by several dignitaries including the Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Ajayi Borrofice; Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Hon. Ujam Chukwuemeka; Representative of the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Adeniji Kazeem; Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye; Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru; Founder, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh and former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, among other dignitaries and government functionaries.