The One Billion Naira Insurgency Appeal Fund, sponsored by the American University of Nigeria (AUN) and Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), its partner organization, has received a ₦50 million boost from Dangote Foundation.
The Fund was officially launched in Lagos on October 6 to rehabilitate persons displaced by Boko Haram,
Leading industrialist and philanthropist, Aliko Dangote, after whom the Foundation is named, promised to assist the IDPs at the Lagos event. The Appeal Fund launch was held at the same time as the launch of the 2015 Banking Sector Report and 20th anniversary of Afrinvest West Africa Limited. Afrinvest is offering pro bono advisory services to the Appeal Fund.
Dr. Margee Ensign, the President of AUN and Chair of API, said news of the ₦50 million donation from Dangote was conveyed to her via letter on October 15.
Thirty-five million naira of the donation would be given in kind: rice, spaghetti, sugar, seasonings, salt, vegetable oil, and 5,000 blankets, she said.
The AUN President was keynote speaker at the Afrinvest event on October 6. Dr. Ensign, whose address dwelt on peace, development, reconstruction, and the way forward for northeast Nigeria, told her audience of the dire situation faced by those displaced by the Boko Haram crisis.
AUN-API have helped thousands of vulnerable Nigerian youth obtain education, develop valuable life skills, and nurture the fortitude to resist recruitment by Boko Haram, which has slain innocent children, women, and men, causing more than 1.5 million survivors to flee their homes.
AUN-API, she continued, counts among its members prominent Muslims and Christians, traditional rulers, academic and business leaders, NGOs, and other members of the Yola community, and has the capacity and nimbleness to address the challenges in real time, given adequate access to aid money, food, and other supplies.
With strong extended family bonding in the local culture, most displaced people now live with relatives rather than in refugee camps.
For example, an estimated 405,000 IDPs fled to Yola, yet only 15,000 sheltered in refugee camps. The international aid community, however, is generally ill-equipped and inexperienced in dealing with refugees outside of camps or camp-like settings, people the AUN-API partnership has been able to reach.
“We know our community and we are in a unique position to bring diverse resources together to find and implement solutions to crises, prevent our youth from succumbing to the temptation to join extremist organizations, and bring stability to the region.
“Our collaborative model works, and we believe that governments, international NGOs, and other organizations working in regions of conflict should pre-identify local peace groups such as ours, and evaluate and use these local networks to implement assistance,” she told a Geneva meeting of the UN High Commission for Refugees in July this year. The generous gift from Dangote Foundation will be of enormous help.”