Tinubu urged to set up charity trust fund, honour global icon, Prof Umerah

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

To stem the economic downtown beyond palliatives, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was on Wednesday urged to establish a National Charity Trust Fund, (NCTF) to raise money from privileged Nigerians and philanthropists.

The fund should be used to meet the essential needs of the poorest people, especially orphans.
Making the call in Lagos, the Patriotic Nigerian Forum, (PNF) led by Eric Oluwole said Nigeria can raise no fewer than N5trillion through a charity fund raising to help the poor. The group said Nigeria has no fewer than 5000 Philanthropic individuals and organisations who can donate freely to help the social safety net of the Federal Government.

The group commended the efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to deal with the very messy economic situation he inherited.

‘We call on him to, as part of the ways to revamp the economy, bring all Philanthropic organisations and individuals in Nigerian together in a round table. Each year, Mr President should appeal to them to make year contributions into a Charity Trust Fund, (CTF).

He said the fund should be used to address the plight of poor children across the country. From our research, there are about 2000 philanthropic individuals and organisations in Nigeria each of which is in a position to raise up to 20m every year to support the fund. This fund can hit N4trillion from this fund.
The group called on President Tinubu to establish the Office of Philanthropy Commission with a Special Adviser who will coordinate Nigerian philanthropists all over the world for effective fund raising for the prosperity, peace and stability of Nigeria.

The PNF President Mr Eric Oluwole also called on the President to honour an outstanding American based philanthropist who is a Professor of Medicine from Imo State, Prof Emeka Umerah. He is reputed to run one of the largest orphanages in Nigeria.
Oluwole said Nigerians are passing through very difficult moments. On the economic front, living and coping with the harsh realities have become extremely difficult. Many have lost their jobs. Some factories have closed down while some are planning to do so. There are historical explanations for the downtown.

He said apart from years of misrule, the economic situation in the country was compounded by the 2023 naira swap which led to the closure of 2million Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, (SMS).
‘Many Nigerians were forced to return their little earned money to their banks but returning the money back to them became difficult. Many poor traders lost out during this terrific Naira swap window. This was made even more difficult due to the removal of oil subsidy by the Government of President Mohammadu Buhari having stopped in the 2-023 budget the funding of oil subsidy from June last year. The removal was sudden, so also were the implications spontaneous.’
He said the problem in Nigeria is complicate by insecurity which has led to many deaths and killings with many children becoming orphans.

There is violence in the land, he said. He observed that the major victims of this trend are Nigerian youths who constitute about 70 percent of the population. This population are people under 30 while some 42 percent are under 15 years. The harsh economy hits children like a hot knife. Worst are orphans. In Nigeria, there is an estimated population of 17.5 million orphans.
Worst hit is the North East where insurgency is well pronounced. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) noted that over 700,000 children will suffer acute malnutrition in the North East. The entire population of the North East is 26 million, some 12 percent of the total population of Nigeria.
He said at the group’s annual meeting of the The Patriotic Nigerians Forum (PNF) in late 2023, decided to focus in 2024 on orphans the starting point was to embark on a tour of Nigeria to feel the impulse.
He said ‘We then in early March organised a tour of the country. We saw poverty in its grimiest form. We saw poor and malnourished children. We saw people without hope. We saw hunger in its raw form. This has raised a new consciousness in us. We deeply concerned about the plight of these children, especially orphans.’

He spoke further that during the tour, ‘we cannot but mention the sterling example of an American-based Professor of Medicine, who through his Orphanage Foundation has built and donated an Orphanage in Imo State, Owerri.’
He said Prof Umerah singlehandedly built and donated the Dr Emeka Orphanage Home in Owerri, Imo State. He is the President and Executive Program Director, of the Public Policy Advocacy and Research Council, Inc (PPARC). The PPARC is a non-partisan political think tank aiding policy makers in the research and advocacy of public policy, research, and education in the United States. Besides, the council performs lawful advocacy and lobbying activities in the USA.

He observed that apart from other projects he has donated in other parts of the Southeast, Professor Umerah is known all over the world as someone who has brought immense joy to orphans in Nigeria.
He said the group believes any one that wants to serve the country in any capacity should make a difference towards the development of Nigeria. ‘Prof Emeka Umerah is an excellent example. In Imo state, we saw hundreds of orphans that have been given hope and uplifted from despair. This is one of the greatest signpost of nation building in a collective sense, not leaving development all alone to the government.’
While commending Prof Umerah for some ongoing projects to support the Federal Government of Nigeria, the PNF calls on Nigerian philanthropists to do more in their states by emulating him

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