Humanitarian Need of North-east Beyond Govt, Says Oando CEO

Wale Tinubu

Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oando Plc., Mr. Wale Tinubu, has said that the humanitarian need of the North-east region is beyond government, and called on the private sector and donor agencies to intervene.

Tinubu, who led other top chief executives to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, came for an on-the-spot-assessment of the area to ascertain how the business community could assist in the planned reconstruction of Borno State and aid assistance to two other states of Adamawa and Yobe affected by the decade-old crisis.

The delegation includes Access Bank’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, and former chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Kyari Bukar, among other private sector leaders, who joined the United Nation (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon.

They paid a visit to two Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, with other UN representatives and met people whose lives have been affected by the ongoing crisis.

Speaking during the visit, Tinubu said: “This initiative is about Nigerians helping Nigerians. Today, I have witnessed some of the most vulnerable people; women and children in the direst circumstances. Having seen the magnitude of their humanitarian needs, it is obvious that it is not a task that the government or any one agency can take on alone.”

He added that: “The onus is on us to use our position to repair, nurture, build and sustain our society and pave a path for a truly inclusive economy.”

Also speaking during the visit, Kallon said: “The humanitarian community has been working tirelessly to provide shelter, food, health care and other basic needs to families who have been left with little or nothing. To see CEOs 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 too much. “Together with the leading business minds in Nigeria, there is so much more we can do for Nigeria’s most vulnerable people.”

He noted that the visit was part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI), a groundbreaking global initiative created in Nigeria that will see companies join donor countries in pooling donations and resources together.

The platform aims to create a more collaborative and effective response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has affected over 7 million people in Nigeria’s northeast, 80 per cent of whom are women and children.

While in Maiduguri, the delegation also met with the Executive Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who welcomed the unique partnership.

Shettima said: “I am very glad that the Nigerian private sector, a very vibrant sector, is at the vanguard of driving this programme. In the UN, Nigeria’s private sector has found a partner that has the integrity to truly make things work.”

Fourteen of the biggest companies in Nigeria signed up to the initiative launched in Lagos in November 2018, which will harness their financial resources, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial drive in support of the humanitarian response in the affected States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. The NHF-PSI offers a measurable and accountable platform for companies to pool their resources together to more effectively transform the lives of millions of their fellow Nigerians.

To date, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has raised $83 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of seventeen donor countries. Nigeria boasts one of Africa’s largest economies with an emerging and thriving private sector globally.

The UN and founding private sector members of the initiative are urging more businesses to come together and collaborate under the platform of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-private sector initiative.