Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the billionaire businessman who sits atop the Dangote conglomerate, is a large-hearted man whose first instincts after creating value, is to spread his wealth so that society might benefit from the fruits of his Midas Touch.
It is little wonder then that he was the first to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by an initial N200 million donation. But as the situation worsened, he dug deeper into his fat purse to fork out over a billion naira to the war against the highly infectious disease. In no time, Corporate Nigeria and the billionaires it has spawned threw their hats in the ring, donating more billions to the cause. Thanks to the Kano billionaire, there was a rallying cry to save Nigeria, which was well heeded.
To followers of the billionaire who made his fortune from cement, sugar, and salt among others, they recognize that he is a free giving spirit who loves to see the smile on people’s faces. He had spent his billions through his Dangote Foundation, providing succor during the Ebola outbreak, and for people in the northeast who are suffering under the Boko Haram onslaught. His contributions during the 2012 flood disaster is also a reference point.
During the Ebola crisis, the Aliko Dangote Foundation committed about N1 billion to combat the disease. Standing to this day, in Yaba, a Lagos hub, is the National Ebola Emergency Operations Centre (EEOC) provided by the foundation.
People of northeast Nigeria who came displaced and or needy as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency got a reprieve from him. Africa’s richest man, whose $10 million intervention, at the time, to assuage sufferings of people of the northeast, was described by the BBC ‘as one of the biggest donations towards easing a humanitarian crisis which has left more than two million people homeless’ has continued to keep faith with his compassion for the less privileged and people struck by disaster.
Dangote took his philanthropic gestures several notches higher by launching the Dangote Village for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, Borno State. The Village is a self-sufficient set of 200 housing units worth N2 billion, with a school, hospital, irrigation farms, and poultry farms, among others. According to the foundation, the gesture was to enable occupants to eke out a living. This was in addition to cash donations of N100, 000 each to residents of the village. While commissioning the project, speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Dangote, said his foundation donated about N7 billion to support displaced persons affected by Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast.
In 2012, in the wake of a cataclysmic flood in Nigeria that killed close to 400 people and left more than 2 million people homeless, Aliko Dangote announced a flood relief fund contribution of $15.8 million (N2.5 billion) to government’s relief efforts. That donation included N50 million in food items and N150 million in cash.
Last year, Dangote also donated $6.3 million to 6 Nigerian universities, including a $3.1 million gift to fund the development of the Bayero State University Business School in Kano, the state where Dangote was born. Other gifts included a $500,000 donation to victims of munitions blasts in Congo and a $12.6 million donation to a non-governmental organization committed to developing low-cost housing for Nigeria’s urban poor.
There Aliko Dangote Foundation at other times, provided 12 units of Thermal Cameras across Nigeria’s International Airports with training for 160 staff of the Federal Ministry of Health, Port Health Services, on using cameras. This was shortly after giving 150 cars to the Nigeria Police.
Dangote also joined forces with Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft and Head of The Bill and Melinda Foundation, to champion Polio eradication through routine immunization, malnutrition, and women micro-credit empowerment scheme.