…shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

L–R, Head, Social Performance, Dangote Cement Ibese plant, Ademola Ojolowo; Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Mulero; one of the Beneficiaries, Pa Adams Babatunde and Manager of the partnering Kokun Foundation, Mr. Isikhuemen Akuekegbe, during the rice distribution at Ibese in the Aliko Dangote Foundation’s National Food Intervention Programme

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF)’s N15 billion National Food Intervention programme has landed in Yewa land as the Foundation commenced distribution of 40,000 bags of rice in Ogun state.

Yesterday, the 17 host communities of the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant, along with Itori, Igbogila, and Ilaro, received their share. Beneficiaries in Ibese and Araromi were accredited and received one bag each at the palace of Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Mulero.

Ijebu-Igbo, the host communities to Dangote Granite Mines will soon receive their allocation as the rice for the area has been delivered in preparation for distribution.

Chairman of ADF and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, launched the food intervention programme in Kano in March, promising that the Foundation will distribute over one million 10kg bags across the 774 local government areas of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT in Nigeria at a cost of about N15 billion.

The Aboro of Ibeseland expressed gratitude on behalf of his communities to the Foundation for its benevolence in distributing rice at this time of economic challenge, saying the gesture would benefit many households where staple food like rice has become scarce.

He likened Dangote’s initiative to Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), introduced by the military government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over 46 years ago to revitalize agriculture and ensure food availability for all Nigerians.

Oba Mulero stated, “we are grateful to Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The rice gift is very impressive given the current situation in the country. We really appreciate him. What he has done can be likened to Operation Feed the Nation of those days. That is what I will call it. He has done well to decide to feed the people. Everybody is vulnerable now in this country.”

He continued, “What Alhaji Dangote is doing is worthy of emulation by other well-meaning Nigerians. When food is out of the problem equation, the equation is easy to solve. We are using this opportunity to thank him for this gesture. You can see the way my people are happily receiving it. We pray to God to continue to uplift him.”

The Aboro of Ibese commended Dangote for his job creation efforts through investments. He said the rice distribution to the people of Ibese is like the icing on the cake as the Cement Plant sited in the community has absorbed some of the host communities’ indigenes and that the food palliative would go a long way to cushion the effect of the economic hardship.

He pledged the support of the people to the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant to ensure the company operates in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity so that the company can continue to benefit the host communities.

One of the beneficiaries, Odunfa Ayodele Adams, an indigene of Ibese on behalf of others expressed appreciation to the ADF. He said it was the first time such a programme would be brought to the Ibese community and prayed to God to give Alhaji Dangote long life to do more for the society.

It would be recalled that Alhaji Dangote while speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the programme explained that the initiative is a crucial step towards alleviating the ongoing economic challenges faced by the country.

He also emphasized the importance of compassion and generosity, stressing that all stakeholders must play a part in supporting the government to alleviate hunger in the land.

“Our distribution of rice symbolizes our commitment to upholding the values of compassion and solidarity, which are at the core of our humanity. ADF has decided to spearhead the food intervention programme,” he said.

On the modalities for distribution of the rice, Dangote said: “the modalities for the programme involve collaboration with state and local governments as well as local community partners to ensure effective delivery of the rice to the most vulnerable across the country, regardless of state, tribe, gender, religion, politics, or other attributes, “he added.

In her own remark then, the Chief Executive Officer of the ADF, Zouera Youssoufou said the rice distribution is in addition to the Foundation’s daily bread relief programme, that is producing and distributing over 32,000 family-size loaves of bread across Kano and Lagos States every day since 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “It is noteworthy that Dangote’s efforts in nutrition strengthening in Nigeria extend well beyond the foundation’s food relief programmes and nutrition activities. The Dangote Group has been actively investing in food fortification across the Nigerian food industry, with its iodized salt, vitamin A fortified sugar, while researches are on-going into micronutrient fortification of staples like rice, wheat, and bouillon cubes”.