Nigerian Billionaires Yet To Fulfill Pledges To Terrorist Victims
A spokesperson has confirmed that Nigerian philanthropist Tony Elumelu completely redeemed his pledge since last year.
A large number of Nigeria’s wealthiest business leaders who pledged more than $400 million last year to support victims of terrorist attacks in Nigeria are yet to redeem their pledges.
Last August, Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s immediate past President, launched the Victims Support Fund, an initiative aimed at providing financial and material relief for individuals who had lost their livelihood as a result of insurgency in Nigeria over the last few years. Jonathan promptly inaugurated the Victims Support Funds Committee and appointed several leading business moguls such as Nigeria’s richest woman Folorunsho Alakija and multi-millionaires Mohammed Indimi and Abdulsamad Rabiu to the board. Oil tycoon General Theophilus Danjuma was appointed as the chairman of the Committee.
During the launch ceremony of the Fund, Jonathan hosted a glamorous fundraising dinner at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. The event was televised on the national broadcaster. At the dinner, Jonathan, who personally served as the Master of Ceremony, invited many prominent business people to make their pledges public. Many of them pledged huge sums of money: Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, mobile telecoms billionaire, Mike Adenuga, and Zenith Bank founder, Jim Ovia, publicly pledged $6.2 million to the Fund. Alakija, Indimi and Rabiu each pledged $3 million while General Danjuma pledged $10 million. About $400 million was raised at the end of the evening.
Health workers carry an injured victim of a suicide blast in Potiskum General Hospital in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum on February 24, 2015. Two blasts rocked bus stations in embattled northern Nigeria on February 24, killing at least 27 people, as relentless attacks persist less than five weeks from general elections. The first, killing 17, was caused by a bomb that ripped through a station on the outskirts of Potiskum, in northeast Yobe state, which has been targeted repeatedly by Boko Haram Islamists. AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR (Photo credit should read AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
But according to a source at the Victims Relief Fund who requested anonymity, only General Danjuma has completely fulfilled his pledge. A few of the Ultra High Net Worth Individuals who pledged huge sums have partially redeemed their pledges while most of them are yet to even make a first installment. Less than a quarter of the pledged funds have been redeemed so far.
“Apart from the TY Danjuma Foundation that has given us $10 million, none of the others who made pledges have completely fulfilled them. And now that Jonathan is out of power, there’s no one to hold them accountable if they refuse to pay up. This is not President Buhari’s project, so we don’t know if he’s going to follow-up with them and make them pay,” the source said.
A spokesperson for the Tony Elumelu Foundation has confirmed that Elumelu also redeemed his pledge last year.