Many of the prominent Nigerians, who made pledges in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan at the special appeal fund launch for the victims of 2012 flood disaster are yet to redeem their promises, six months after.
Interestingly, some of those who pledged but are yet to redeem it have gone ahead to enjoy the tax incentives attached to their pledges.
A Presidential Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee, co-chaired by business mogul, Aliko Dangote and frontline lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), which put the fund raising together, has therefore, read a riot act to the pledge defaulters, threatening to publicly publish their names should they fail to remit their pledges on or before June 30.
Advising the defaulters to respect themselves and maintain their honour and integrity, the committee vowed that it would expose those who have not turned in their pledges by publishing their names in the national dailies in the next three weeks
The 34-man presidential committee at its inauguration stated that it was targeting the sum of N100 billion, during the fundraising dinner at the Presidential Villa, during which donations and pledges made by prominent Nigerians amounted to N11.35 billion.
Dangote and the federal government topped the chat with the donation of N2.5 billion apiece, while Messrs Jim Ovia, Chairman of Visafone and Tony Elumelu, followed suit with N1 billion each.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, and her Communications Technology counterpart, Omobola Johnson, had pledged to mobilise the indigenous oil companies and telecommunications firms, which were invited but conspicuously absent at the dinner, to respond to the donation.
To motivate and encourage the audience to donate bountifully President Jonathan had announced tax incentives for all corporate organisations that would donate into the flood relief fund meant to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians who were affected by flooding in the country that year.
Obviously miffed at the continuous refusal of the pledge makers to redeem their pledge, even when the committee is was about to move to the next stage of its assignment, which is to implement the rehabilitation of the victims, the committee therefore decided to make the appeal open.
A statement issued by the Committee in Lagos and signed by the co-chairmen, said it would publish the names of pledge defaulters in the newspapers and other social media blogs if by June 30, they refused to redeem their promise.
The statement titled: “Public Notice: Redemption of Pledges” read: “The Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation expresses its profound gratitude and appreciation to all who answered the clarion call to be our brothers’ keepers through their generous donations and pledges at its Fund Raising Dinner in November 2012 for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in Nigeria. We thank you immensely.
“As we proceed to the implementation stage of the planned rehabilitation projects, we hereby call on all those who have not redeemed their pledges to please do so on or before June 30, 2013 as a mark of honour and integrity as names of defaulters will be announced in all national dailies and social media blogs.
“Once again we thank you and look forward to receiving the proceeds of all pledges made.”
Meanwhile, preparatory to the fund raiser, the committee had divided itself into groups and visited the victims in all the states affected by the flood to ascertain the level of destruction and distortion to the victims as well as the destabilisation of their farming and aquatic endeavour.
The nation witnessed the worst ever flood disaster in the fourth quarter of last year when flood swept through many states putting millions of Nigerians in danger as 59 communities were reportedly sacked, 38, 228 displaced and about 160 people feared dead.
The president undertook a tour of some of the affected areas and promised that government would help them in the provision of reliefs and rehabilitation.