BY KUNLE HAMILTON
Of the 12.5 million internally displaced persons spread across 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, about 3.3 million of them are Nigerians who have had to flee their homes, offices, trade and business locations due to conflict and violence, chief among which in recent times is displacement caused by Boko Haram insurgency.
Those are the figures contained in the Global Overview 2014 compiled and released by the Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). You can expect that hundreds of thousands if not a million plus may have capped those figures both in Nigeria and on the continent, since Ebola ravaged key African countries and Boko Haram’s pogroms escalated once synced to the murderous campaigns of the Islamic State also called ISIS.
When you compare three or four million IDPs to the country’s estimated 170 million galloping population, their number seems small. But when you think (in more humane terms) of families who are split up, scattered and flustered; who can’t find their members, can’t sleep, clothe, feed or live well, and who have no idea what tomorrow will bring or even if tomorrow will come, then three to four million humans are a big headache unto themselves and country. Many institutions and organisations are constantly being asked to help Nigeria’s IDPs. Many have sent replies, only few have sent supplies.
What these fellow citizens need is love, not pity. They need supplies, not replies. To reply is to talk. To supply is to walk your talk. IDPs need good food, clothes, shelter, medicare, counselling, prayers and attention. The plight of IDPs in Nigeria calls for a more vigorous PPP – public, private partnership. Even at that, governments at all tiers can’t provide all that is required to alleviate the feelings of despondency that naturally descend upon these innocent victims of conflict and violence, especially the children and women.
Companies, religious and not-for-profit organisations, and well-meaning individuals must keep rallying support and providing succour to the IDPs, never giving up till they are all re-settled.
Recently, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria partnered with the Nigerian Red Cross Society to provide significant nutrition intervention – Peak milk – which conservatively is valued at millions of Naira. The company made a presentation targeted primarily at displaced children in IDP camps in Yola, Adamawa state.
The Corporate Affairs Director of the company, Mrs. Ore Famurewa, who visited IDP camps up north, also spent time with the children. She picked the toddlers up like a mother would and laughed with the more grown up ones who could hold meaningful conversations with her. Acts like that reassure IDPs that some lights will still shine brightly for them at the end of their tunnels of despair.
Famurewa explained, while presenting FCWamco’s Peak milk supplies to the IDPs, that the nutrition intervention programme is designed to benefit over 1,700 children from age 5 upwards. No doubt, the initiative would help reduce concerns of malnutrition in the camps.
FrieslandCampina WAMCO, makers of Nigeria’s leading milk brand – Peak, has committed to a phased donation of about 20,000 cartons of milk (the shelf cost of which must be in excess of N200 million) for the period of August, September and October 2015. The Nigerian Red Cross Society, which is internationally acclaimed for its interventionist integrity has also accepted responsibility for the efficient delivery and distribution of FCWamco’s milk supplies to the displaced children, and the evaluation of the entire FCWamco relief project.
According to FCWamco, the initiative will also be extended to mothers living in IDP camps in Northeast Nigeria to support their nutritional well-being; as they form part of the vulnerable group the company has prioritized.
When contacted at the company’s Lagos head office, Rahul Colaco, Managing Director, FCWamco, said: “We believe in integrating CSR into our business philosophy, hence, this project ties in well with our mission of nourishing Nigeria with quality dairy nutrition. This includes three pillars, part of which covers our social responsibility to care for people and the community in which we operate in.
“We understand that inadequate nutrition can endanger the proper development of children; that is why we are driving this initiative to enable these families and help in the mental and physical development of the children.”
Even the employees of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria through a support campaign tagged #payitforward, have shored up the company’s major act of kindness by also sending personal non-cash gift items that have been distributed to the displaced persons.
The next time you think IDPs, think your own IDPs– I Do Positives too.
Dr. Hamilton is a Lagos-based life coach and reputation management consultant
Photo Caption: Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Ore Famurewa, with children in an IDP camp in Yola, Adamawa State.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]