A former secretary to the federal government, Babagana Kingibe, on Saturday made touching remarks about his childhood, and his growing up as an orphan.
Mr. Kingibe spoke at a session organized by the Oladiran Adebutu Foundation on the theme “Eradicate Poverty, Build Prosperous Communities'” at Park Inn hotel, Abeokuta.
He said he lost his parents early as a child and had to be raised by a foster family.
“I grew up as an orphan, but with difference, because I enjoyed the love of my foster parents who took me up when I lost my parents,” he said.
“I was following other children to school in the community, though not as a registered pupil, but standing beside the window to listen to classes.
“And after the pupil finished I close with them, until one day a teacher who had been noticing me allowed me to start classes with others.
“This is how I grew up to become what I am today. So, there is none of the vulnerable children or orphans who cannot grow.”
Mr. Kingibe noted that about 40,000 children had been orphaned as a result of the activities of Boko Haram in the north-east.
“About 40,000 children have become orphans due to insecurity in the North,” he said. “I am from Maiduguri, but what we are experiencing now is far better, there is no more bombing like before.”
Mr. Kingibe commended the Buhari administration for the improved security situation, yet said there was need for more work to be done.
He appealed to corporate organisations and well meaning Nigerians to do more and support the effort in bringing succour to children who had been rendered orphans in the country.
Also speaking at the event, the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, called for more help for the needy in the society.
He expressed optimism that the beneficiaries of the foundation were destined to be important future leaders.
The monarch encouraged the children to be focused with assurance that they had a brighter future ahead.
The Chairman of the foundation, Oladiran Adebutu, in his speech, said the foundation had poverty alleviation at the forefront of its intervention.
“With poverty alleviation at the forefront of our intervention, we are focus driven on particularly themed activities that can rapidly scale up and impact in the short, medium and long term,” Mr. Adebutu said.
He added that the mission of the foundation was to support orphans, vulnerable children and women with increased access to quality education, primary healthcare, and others through sustainable development activities.
Mr. Adebutu said the foundation was a non-profit and non-political organisation registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2014,and had been involved in philanthropic initiatives ranging from shelter, provision of clean water and others.
“It is our mandate to give support to the vulnerable children and women in our host communities,” he added.