At least the Dangote-Agbakoba-Adenuga Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation is targeting to raise N100 billion in their one year assignment to assist the federal government in its effort to provide succour to victims of this year’s flood disaster.
President Goodluck Jonathan had Thursday inaugurated the 34- man committee saying that their selection is based on merit and their track record of humanitarian assistance to the government and citizens of the country.
According to the co-chairman of the committee, billionaire Aliko Dangote, many of the members of his team will also assist by making donations to the cause since they were used to making such huge contributions to similar victims of natural disasters in other countries around the globe.
Alhaji Dangote said as captains of industries and business magnates, people like him in the committee, and the remaining members, as citizens have benefitted from the government and people of the country, so they are duty-bound to reciprocate that gesture.
His words: “We are targeting N100 billion minimum. We do not want to look at it as a government issue. For some of us when there were disasters in other countries we helped and so we expect people to help us.
“Government is doing their own but we as a private sector, we are very serious because we are donating our money out of our own goodwill and I believe Nigerians know that with the calibre of people that we have in the committee, these are people that have actually benefited from Nigeria, without Nigeria we wouldn't have been where we are today."
Pledging that the proceeds of their efforts will reach the victims of the disaster, he added: "We are ready to come out and assist and so if anybody donates his money he wants to be reassured that his money will be judiciously spent, the people who are affected will get what they deserve."
President Goodluck Jonathan had told the committee members that they were put together because government knows that they will not wait on it to get duty tour allowances before they discharge their responsibilities as they were all selected “based on your credentials” and “what you have been doing before.”
“All of you here are in one way or the other been involved in philanthropic duties because this is an assignment that you need people with empathy not people that will see it as a privilege of touring or getting allowances for travels,” the president explained.
He expressed confidence that with Dangote and Agbakoba at the head of the team “and credible people that are here, this assignment will be carried to the letter and will be an honor to our fatherland."
Irked that large part of the country is currently submerged in flood water, including his home state, Bayelsa, the president said the issue is no longer a domestic one but an international one considering the huge population of the country, at least 25% are affected.
“I spoke to my governor yesterday, he was so desperate because he said people do not even have food because all the channels of communications to Bayelsa State has been blocked by water. What we are expecting next is to begin to see the goodies coming and we will try as much as possible to raise funds both locally and internationally to compliment's government's effort in terms of making sure that our fellow Nigerians do not really suffer from the devastating calamity. We will go round and see what needs to be done to ensure this does not reoccur again,” Jonathan observed.
On Tuesday morning the president in a nationwide broadcast announced to the nation the inauguration of National committee on flood relief rehabilitation because “Nigeria was facing its own unfair share of the global phenomenon of flooding.”
The brief of the committee as they were formally inaugurated Thursday, apart from giving an “an overview of the degree of impact of the floods,” are: ‘to raise funds to compliment or augment federal government's effort to cushion the immediate effect of flooding and the resettlement and recovery of affected persons,” and “advise government on … how to handle victims.”
“We believe that this committee can conclude this job in 12 months. The flood, God willing by middle of November, will go down, after that what next? You will still be working and I belief that within 12 months we will be able to see how we can resettle these people and they will begin to live their normal live,” the president said.
“So you have enormous responsibility but we believe you are equal to the task. Let me especially thank our development partners for accepting to serve on this special committee, Nigeria will continue to be grateful to you especially to the organizations you represent. Let us assure you on behalf of government and people that we are grateful for your commitment and efforts to serve our country.
“Let me also use this opportunity to assure Nigerians again that the present administration will do everything possible to ameliorate the impact of this devastating flood on our people. We will do everything to cushion their pain, and we have put up a strong team made up of credible men and women who will also help government to achieve this,” he concluded.