Aliko Dangote

Africa’s foremost philanthropist and President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has bagged top Corporate Award of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Alumni Association, Zaria in Kaduna State.

The Association’s National President, Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora said at the award ceremony in Zaria that the 2018 Corporate Award was presented to the top industrialist in view of the numerous contributions of his conglomerate to the development of the educational sector in Nigeria,

Professor Mora said that the interventions of the Aliko Dangote Foundation in the educational sector over the years have been unprecedented through, especially, the sponsorship of various scholarship programmes.

Reading his citation, Professor Mora said apart from the $100 million donation to fight malnutrition, Mr. Dangote is a ‘dedicated philanthropist’ who has also “made an initial endowment of $1.25billion to the Aliko Dangote Foundation in March 2014.”

He said that Dangote Foundation has constructed 10 blocks of hostels for ABU Zaria.

According to him, the Association has 12 governors as alumni, adding that one in every four Nigerian is governed by the alumni of the school.

The Dangote Academy, located in Obajana, Kogi State, is yet another contribution of the Group to education to Nigeria, he said.

The Group’s Executive Director Stakeholders Management and Corporate Communication Engineer Ahmed Mansur who received the award on behalf of Africa’s richest person, said that the award will spur the conglomerate to scale up its intervention programmes in all sectors.

Mansur thanked the Association even as he said that the Dangote Group will not rest on its oars in ensuring that the educational sector achieved its rightful place in Nigeria.

He said that the Dangote Group has pumped billions of naira into the educational sector over the years, even as it planned to officially launched another multi-million naira hostel, with the capacity to accommodate 1,440 students at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

It would be recalled that the Group had only recently donated a World Class Dangote Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano, and building another one in University of Ibadan worth N250M.

Earlier, it donated N200 million to Katsina State University while N500 million for Bayero State University Business School in Kano.

Funding was also provided for the construction of a 500 capacity student hostel complex of the University of Science and Technology, Wudil.

The Group also gave N118 million for a squash complex project at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka main campus and another N50 million to the University of Port Harcourt, as well as a N100million for the proposed Otuoke University.

Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Ibrahim Garba commended the awardees, and added that all hands must be on the deck to rescue the educational sector.

Professor Garba said out of the about eighty thousand applicants yearly, of which thirty thousand are qualified, only 11,500 eventually get admitted due to limited facility.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aliko Dangote Foundation has told stakeholders on health that Universal Healthcare Coverage(UHC) is one of the top priorities of the Foundation.

This is coming as the Federal Government through the Minister of Health, and other stakeholders lauded the Dangote Foundation for its positive impact on the country’s health sector.

Ms Zouera Youssoufou who was speaking at the ThisDay Newspaper Healthcare Policy Dialogue Thursday in Abuja, said the Foundation will continue to work with governments and civil society organizations for the development of impactful health sector programmes in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

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She said that the Foundation over the years have expended billions of naira in supporting the causes of health through its strides to eradicate Wild Polio Virus in Nigeria, adding that the Foundation has made significant social investments in health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief.

Recently the Foundation made a pledge to commit $100million to fight malnutrition in some parts of the country, she said.

“Dangote Foundation in partnership with Bill and Milenda Gates Foundation have been supporting the government in the eradication of polio,” she added.

Ms Youssoufou said the Foundation is also trying to woo other private sector operators to commit at least one percent of their profit after tax to support the health sector.

She commended the ThisDay Newspaper for bringing together stakeholders to find solution to the country’s health challenges.

Speaking, Minister of Health Prof Isaac Folorunso Adewole who commended Dangote Foundation and other stakeholders said the Muhammadu Buhari administration is not resting on its oars in trying to achieve a Universal Health Coverage(UHC).

“Healthcare is a key driver of our socio-economic development and that is why our future success depends on our investment in the health sector,” he said.

The Minister also launched the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund(BHCPF) tagged HUWE, saying it is aimed at reaching eight million Nigerians in its start-up phase.

He said the the BHCPF is coming since the National Health Act was signed into law in 2014.

He said the Health Act stipulates that 1% of consolidated Federal Revenue be set aside to support the BHCPF. 50% of the funds are allocated to the National Health Insurance Sheme; 45% to the National Healthcare Delivery Agency and 5% for dealing with emergencies.

Speaking earlier, Chairman and Publisher of ThisDay Newspaper Mr. Nduka Obaigbena said he was elated by the contribution of government and stakeholders after its first dialogue in 2017.

Mr. Obaigbena said Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed assured participants that the funding of the health sector has been on the increase since Buhari government came to being.

Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghbreyesus said given its large population, Nigeria’s health sector is very central to Africa and the world.

He urged the Nigerian government to prioritize Primary Healthcare, saying its effort on UHC  was timely.

Dangote Foundation had committed billions of Naira on critical intervention in the health sector by building hospitals and equipping teaching hospitals.

His Foundation is currently building the biggest maternity wards in Aminu Kano specialist hospital and state of the arts Surgical Operating Theatre and Diagnostic Centre (SDC), at a cost N7 billion, which soon be completed.

The 900-bed capacity maternity at the hospital, reputed for highest number of in-patients in sub-Saharan Africa, has been lacking facilities that may detract from the new SDC being built by the Foundation, hence the decision to carry out the construction and renovation of the auxiliary facilities. [myad]