The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has named the Dangote Foundation as a recipient of its Platinum Award for being the highest donor to the North East that has been plagued by humanitarian crisis caused by insurgency.
Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, presented the award on behalf of the NUJ to the Dangote Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Zouera Youssoufou at a ceremony in Maiduguri, Borno State Capital.
The governor said the Foundation contributed positively towards the reconstruction of Borno State, as well as rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of the humanitarian crisis in the North East.
While congratulating the foundation, he singled out the president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, for commendation, saying he had visited the state several times since the insurgency began.
He described Mr Dangote as “a friend indeed.”
The foundation had expended over N6billion towards supporting the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the region.
Reacting, Ms Youssoufou thanked the NUJ members and said the award will encourage the foundation to do more.
She said the president of Dangote Group is passionate about ensuring that IDPs return to their homes in a peaceful environment, adding that the foundation will continue to partner the government in achievement peace in the state.
She said the Northeast belongs to “all of us and we must support victims of insurgency.”
She called on journalists not to publish hate speeches capable of threatening the fragile peace and stability that is being enjoyed.
Ms Youssoufou announced a donation of N5million to enable the NUJ rebuild its secretariat in Maiduguri.
National President of the NUJ Abdulwaheed Odusile thanked the Dangote Foundation for its gesture and added that the hosting of the NUJ Press Week this year, following the 2013 edition, was a pointer to the fact that peace has returned to Borno State.
He commended the awardees and urged them not to relent in their humanitarian gestures.
It would be recalled that Mr Dangote had earlier announced a staggering donation of N2billion for the IDPs in Borno State.
Speaking on the criteria used for the selection of the awardees, chairman of the organizing committee Umar Tahir said a rigorous process was followed before Dangote Foundation emerged the overall winner.
Chairman of the Borno State Council of the NUJ Baba Sheikh Haruna commended the Foundation for what he said would have been an embarrassing humanitarian crisis of monumental proportion.
Borno State commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Professor Babagana Umara Zulun said the insurgency had destroyed over one million homes and government structures.
He thanked the Dangote Group for partnering with the Government of Borno State in the reconstruction effort.
Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali regretted the recent attacks on oil explorers but assured that the crisis will soon be over.
The event was attended by members of the academia, senators, members of the House of Representatives, members of the State Assembly, journalists, state commissioners, traditional rulers and members of the law enforcement agencies, among others.
The Dangote Foundation has a history of intervening and supporting victims of violence as it did for the victims of 2011 post election violence in Kaduna State, communal clash in Benue State in 2014, communal attack in Taraba and the clash in Ile Ife and Lagos.