The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim have lauded Airtel Nigeria for its exceptional CSR efforts at the telco’s season 5 premiere of its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Airtel Touching Lives’.
The grand ceremony, which held over the weekend in Lagos at Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island was attended by several eminent guests, including award-winning writer and novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.
In his keynote address, Yemi Osinbajo commended Airtel for its unswerving efforts in bringing millions of underprivileged Nigerians out of despair and being a beacon of hope through its Touching Lives initiative. He stated, “I really want to laud the effort of Segun Ogunsanya and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives and for doing so in the past five years without fanfare. Listening to the stories of the lives that have been touched must be a reminder of so many others in despair who need our help and comfort.”
Osinbajo went on to expound the Federal Government’s continuous efforts in providing support for more Nigerians in dire need of help by creating social safety nets to the vulnerable, including improved access to healthcare, welfare, housing, among others. He noted that part of the safety net schemes is the feeding of over 9 million pupils across 34 states, however, he stated the efforts still have a long a way to go in providing succor to people in hard-to-reach communities.
“In spite of all these social safety net schemes, we are still very far from touching the majority of those who need our help. We still need more resources because we can’t do it all, and that is why socially conscious organizations like Airtel is so vital in bridging the huge gap between what the Government can do and what is left to be done”, he added.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his keynote address regarded Airtel as a partner in progress, praising the telecommunications giant for going out of its way to impact millions of lives over the years through the initiative. He stated that Airtel’s commitment to touching lives continues to compliment the State Government’s goal of giving a voice to the voiceless. He said: “Companies like Airtel is helping us actualize the reason millions of people stand under the rain and in the sun to vote for us as public officers. We truly appreciate companies like Airtel, who are taking the right narrative and steps to truly impact lives without expecting anything in return.”
Sano-Olu went on to elucidate one of the numerous ways the telco has supported the Lagos State Government, stating, “I can assure you the company has been doing incredible work and supporting us without pressurizing them. I am more than happy to reveal that even in our Security Trust Fund, Airtel gave us over 200 lines for all of our security operatives in the RRS. That for us is critical, as communication is a consequential tool that security operatives need to have to discharge their duties.”
“We are delighted that Airtel and the likes are supporting us to continually ensure that our people are taken out of poverty and Lagos State remains a destination of choice for people to do well, thrive and progress.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, , Isa Ali Ibrahim also lauded Airtel for its Touching Lives initiative, citing it as a source of inspiration for not just only public officers in government but one that could permeate the culture of giving among millions of Nigerians. He described Airtel as a corporate entity worthy of emulation by other organizations in the country. He noted that he was moved by Airtel’s unflagging dedication to truly render a helping hand to those in need without being compelled by the law to do so.
The Minister, having been moved by the gesture went on to promise to invest his salary in the purchase of Airtel top-up for others as a way of showing his gratitude and support for the telco.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, called on kind-hearted Nigerians to join in uplifting the less-privileged members of society. He stated that ‘Airtel Touching Lives’ serves as a platform to promote the culture of giving, self-sacrifice, love and charity among Nigerians.
“The initiative is designed to offer practical relief, succour, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged, disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in the Nigerian society”, he said.
He said the initiative had continued to record tremendous success since it was launched in 2015 and noted that the success of the programme over the years has encouraged the telecommunication company to keep the show running.