The Dangote Foundation yesterday began the distribution of N540 million to about 54,000 indigent residents of Borno State with the aim of reducing poverty in the troubled state which has been under the siege of Boko Haram insurgency for the last four years.
The foundation, financed by the billionaire businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as his contribution to alleviating poverty in the country is collaborating with Support for Women, Orphans and Tsangaya (SWOT), a pet project of the wife of Borno State governor, Hajiya Nana Kashim Shettima.
The SWOT is to organise the indigents and get the financial support of the business mogul to them. Each beneficiary is entitled to N10,000.
Managing Director of the Dangote Foundation, Dr. Adhiambo Odaga, said yesterday that the foundation had earmarked N540 million for distribution to the targeted beneficiaries in the 27 local government areas of the state as part of a special disbursement of N1.2 billion meant for residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, where the federal government has imposed a state of emergency.
Apart from Borno, Odaga said 177,500 women and 19,000 youths in Kano, Kogi, Adamawa and Yobe States had benefitted from the programme.
She said the micro-grants was part of a national programme instituted by the Dangote Group to provide cash transfers to at least 1,000 poor and vulnerable Nigerians in each of the 774 local government areas of the federation.
"Dangote Foundation's micro-grants enable recipients to grow or start an enterprise, invest in productive assets, improve the health of their families and or take on new activities that will reduce their vulnerability and enhance the economic standing of their household and communities," she said.
Governor Kashim Shettima and his wife monitored the launch of the distribution in Maiduguri. The governor described Dangote as a patriotic Nigerian and thanked him for giving special attention to states like Borno that have peculiar security, social and economic challenges.
His wife on the other hand said most of the beneficiaries were women who had lost their husbands at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency as well as orphans, the blind, the crippled and other vulnerable members of the society.