21 June 2019

Nigeria: As Nimasa Distributes Relief Materials to IDPs

Eromosele Abiodun posits that the donation of relief materials to internally displaced persons cross 20 states by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency

is touching the lives of people, especially the indigent and displaced persons

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a broad term used to describe an organisation's efforts to improve society in some way.

These efforts can range from donating money to nonprofits to implementing environmentally-friendly policies in the workplace. CSR, experts believe, is important for companies, nonprofits, and employees alike. Corporate social responsibility is not a mandated practice anywhere in the world; instead, it is something extra that companies and government agencies do (though rarely) to improve their local and global communities.

Many organisations, public or private, have now introduced an internal corporate social responsibility policy to their business activities, with the aim of improving their business operations to limit negative consequences to the environment and the planet as a whole. This has obvious advantages to the company, and even to the employees who participate in these programme, but what of society as a whole? How does corporate social responsibility benefit the whole community? Employees more often than not live locally in the community - so they can see the huge benefits their company is contributing with CSR activities, which will impact directly on them and their families, friends and neighbours. This 'feel good' factor has really positive implications for staff retention, recruitment and loyalty, leading to more employment and better long term prospects for these communities.

Having a corporate social responsibility strategy can also have a knock on effect to encourage others to act responsibly too in other areas of their life. It can help improve overall environmental responsibility, educate people to make greener choices and encourage personal growth and development in an area which could become a new passion for someone.

Corporate social responsibility activities amongst various corporations and its stakeholders could contribute to the macroeconomic development of a developing country through sustainable benefit to all. At the same time, experts noted that optimum national impact, cooperation, and communication would be encouraged and socialised.

For most businesses, it makes sense to get involved in progression of the community solely, depending on CSR initiatives related to your product or service.

"CSR initiatives can be the best way to contribute to the society and its people. Through local or national charitable contributions businesses can help the society. "Businesses can get involved in the society and help it to progress by taking social initiatives on behalf of the company such as investing in education programs for the poor and street children and homeless care activities for homeless people or refugees. "They can support a local charity making financial contributions in effective charitable projects. If you are a restaurant owner you may provide food to local homeless groups or to orphanages free of cost, "said a psychologist with a non-governmental organisation, Ayo Balogun.

FG's Call for Help

In Nigeria, the federal government has over the years consistently encouraged interested philanthropists and non-governmental organisations to partner with government in order to adequately cater for the needs of Nigerians who are affected by one form of disaster or another.

In line with such encouragement, the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), embarked on provision of relief materials of diverse forms to the Internally Displaced Persons across 20 states of the federation throughout the six geo-political zones.

On April 19, this year, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency commenced the donation of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide with the presentation of household items to IDPs in Lagos. The exercise, which took place at the Lagos State Emergency Resettlement and Relief Camp at Igando, in Alimosho Local Government Area, involved relief materials worth millions of naira.

Twenty states across the Nation's six geo-political zones are set to benefit, beginning from Lagos State.

Others are, Rivers, Niger, Benue, Kastina, Plateau, Kaduna, Edo, Yobe, and Kogi states respectively. Other states ravaged by floods lined up to benefit include; Kano, Sokoto, Anambra, Taraba, Osun, Delta, Cross River, Ogun, Bayelsa and Ondo States.

While presenting the materials to the IDPs, in Lagos, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the gesture was in line with NIMASA's Corporate Social Responsibility programme, which is partly focused on touching the lives of people, especially the indigent and displaced persons, and changing their stories.

Dakuku, who was represented by the Director, Special Duties (External Relations and Technical Cooperation), Hajia Lami Tumaka, said NIMASA had decided to identify with victims of natural and other disasters living in the camp in Lagos to try to give them a sense of belonging.

He told the displaced persons, "We have come here to identify with you and to share in your trying moments. Let me assure you that it will not be for long, as the government is aware of the challenges you are going through and is doing everything possible to get you properly resettled in order to lead normal lives again.

"As a socially responsible corporate entity, we are concerned with your wellbeing and we remain committed to partnering with the Lagos State Government to ameliorate your challenges," he said.

He called on other well-meaning organisations and individuals to come forward with relief measures to support the victims of natural and other disasters.

He urged the Lagos State Government to remain resolute in its enforcement of the demolition of weak buildings to avert further incidences of building collapse in the state.

Earlier in his welcome address, the General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, commended NIMASA for consistently being a worthy partner in the effort to support IDPs in the state.

Tiamiyu pledged the readiness of the Lagos State Government to continue to partner with the agency in the attempt to assist and resettle all victims of disaster in the state.

According to him, "NIMASA has remained a worthy partner and we call on other agencies, corporate bodies, and individuals to emulate this gesture so that in no distant time the IDPs can be resettled in their homes and continue with their normal lives and activities.

"I recall that last year, NIMASA also brought a lot of relief materials to victims of flood disaster. So on behalf of the government of Lagos State and, indeed, the displaced Lagosians, I say, thank you to Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the Management of NIMASA."

The materials donated by NIMASA included food items, clothing materials, beddings, toiletries, wheel chairs, and baby food, among other household items.

More States Gets Materials

In continuation of the CSR effort, NIMASA recently donated relief materials to victims of 2018 flood disaster in Kano State.

Presenting the materials to the Kano State Government, Peterside, said the donation was part of their corporate social responsibilities.

The materials include food items such as bags of rice and beans as well as grinding, sewing and pumping machines. Others are detergents, mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets and other items.

Represented by the Deputy Director Finance of NIMASA, Mrs Odusanya Olamide, Peterside said the donation was coming late because certain due process had to be followed before the disbursement of the fund.

Dakuku explained that NIMASA was rendering assistance to victims of disasters across 20 states, adding that the agency was looking into the possibilities of increasing the number of the benefiting states.

He urged the state government to distribute the relief materials to the affected people judiciously so as to achieve the desired goal.

He also reaffirmed the agency's commitment in rendering assistance to victims of natural disasters across the country.

In his remark, Alhaji Ali Bashir-Nukkel, Executive Secretary, Kano State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), who received the donation on behalf of the state government, commended the efforts of NIMASA for identifying with the victims.

He assured that the items donated would be distributed judiciously to the affected people with the aim of alleviating their suffering.

According to him, the relief materials would be distributed only to those victims who were affected seriously by the disaster and need more assistance.

While presenting some relief materials to the Internally Displaced persons in Cross River State, Dakuku restated that the internally displaced persons spread across Nigeria constitute an integral part of our society and the nation at large and therefore have to be catered for.

Presenting the materials to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the DG, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Data Services Department (PRDMS), Mrs. Moronke Thomas, told the beneficiaries that the Agency would always support the Federal Government's drive in advancing gestures that impact lives positively and meaningfully in the country.

"NIMASA is a socially responsible citizen. Though our core mandates are principally to regulate and promote shipping as well as other associated maritime ventures in Nigeria, we are acutely aware, and also conscious of the plights of natural disaster victims like you. We are with you and we share your sufferings. We are here in realisation of the fact that an injury to you is an injury to us, and by extension, an injury to Nigeria. And so, NIMASA as a responsible corporate citizen will continue to support the Federal Government efforts in ameliorating your sufferings and challenges, the NIMASA boss said.

Receiving the materials on behalf of the IDPs in the State, the Special Assistant (SA) to the Governor who also doubles as the Ag DG, of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Princewil Ayim commended NIMASA, while noting that the State government was doing its best on their welfare and security. He thanked NIMASA for the gesture and called on other public-spirited institutions and individuals to emulate such magnanimity.

"We note and understand the circumstances of our people and we feel their pains. We perfectly know their needs and we are doing everything as a State to make life meaningful for them. We call on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate institutions to emulate NIMASA. We appreciate and commend them and it is our promise that this gesture has been received in the spirit in which it is given, "Ayim said.

Also speaking, the leader of the Bakassi IDP Camp, Mr. Etim Ene, thanked NIMASA for the items donated, adding that the Camp was still lacking basic amenities such as portable water and healthcare services.

Materials donated ranged from Mattresses, Garri, School Bags, Salt, Rice, Fishing Nets, Blanket, Tins of Powder Milk, beverages, Soap/ Detergents, Sugar, noodles, palm/vegetable oil, amongst others.

NIMASA had in 2018 donated relief materials to victims of floods and insurgency in 11 states of the federation.

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