The Big Church Foundation followed the cries of impoverished, hard-to-reach communities caught in the middle of the turf war between nomads and ethnic people in Southern Kaduna, to give them respite and hope, SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH writes.
It has been over three of four months since the violence in Southern Kaduna erupted, claiming millions of lives, properties and other resources worth millions of naira.
Many communities in the area have seen their aged, young and middle-aged dead; what little infrastructure indicating government presence they have turned to rubble and their once-peaceful lives disrupted by fear and uncertainty.
These strange, new developments have left them impoverished, too scared to go to their farms, to venture out at night or, even, to go to their markets.
In no time, scarcity followed and with it came hunger.
The situation deteriorated and they found themselves in need of external intervention, as, in their opinion, their state government, looked the other way, while they pined away and died in hunger.
This was until help from numerous non-governmental organisations and well-meaning individuals pitched in and began to send their cash, materials, food items and other needful things to the ethnic people of the area.
Over the last couple of days, though, a cloud of excitement expectation have permeated Kagoro Community, following the visit of non-governmental, non-religious organisation, Big Church Foundation, to the locale.
Led by its chairman and a number of celebrities, the horde descended on the sleepy community, led by its chairman, Dr. Olakunle Churchill.
Though the foundation had previously sent relief materials to the locale to ease their pressing needs and provide succour for them, it embarked on an actual visit to identify with the plight the people suffered as a result of the Kada River Massacre.
Upon arrival, the philanthropist – in the company of a slew of celebrities – was welcomed at the palace, by the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness, Ufuwai Boned and members of his cabinets, who were glad to have them in their domain.
Traditional dancing troupes sang folk songs and danced energetically in the village square, to entertain the gathered natives and the visitors.
The royal expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Kagoro Kingdom for the support and bravery of Churchill and the foundation in sending out his team in the heat of the crisis carried out by the vengeful Fulani herdsmen which left a lot of people dead, houses and properties destroyed and most natives displaced.
The ruler, nearly indisposed by an illness, could hardly disguise his joy over the timely assistance of the foundation to the people of Kagoro.
The ruler narrated how the wanton destruction of farm products and livestock at the deserted invoked terror on the people of the locality and further called on Nigerians and the Federal Government to, through the influence of the foundation, provide security, make shelter available for the displaced and re-open the University Campus Kafanchan and College of Education, Gidanwaya – the only institutions in Southern Kaduna – which were earlier shut down.
Responding to the royal, Churchill confessed that he was moved to help humanity and, particularly, the Kagoro Community in far-away Kafanchan during the massacre, in order to save lives and support in re-building the destroyed village.
He reiterated his commitment in ensuring that the community improved and all necessary damages repaired or replaced to give them better living conditions and make their lives and communities crisis-free.
The philanthropist further presented his foundation’s gifts and souvenirs to the royal and his council of elders, amidst high media presence and promised to keep his team beyond the three months they had spent in the area.
The award winning charity magnet also thanked the high chiefs for the proposed arrangement to honour him with a chieftaincy title next month via a colourful ceremony.
The palace reception followed a charity football match between Kagoro Football Team and Big Churchill Foundation at the village playground, with prize money presented to the community team, following its emergence as winner of the entertaining match that brought smiles and joy to the natives.
The tournament was flagged open by the foundation ambassador and singer Praiz Adejo, after which, Churchill declared food and drinks for over 1000 natives of the kingdom to celebrated the presence of the foundation.
It would recalled that Big Church Foundation provided fund and relief materials few months ago during the killings which followed the shooting of a high budget movie to reflect the historical plights of the people of Kada River for Nigerians and generations unborn to witness the painful destructions and obnoxious catastrophe experienced by the community.
The screen production features ‘A’ list Nollywood stars and some natives of the Kagoro Community.
The movie, geared towards bolstering and fostering peace in the region would also make a case for promoting religious, political and ethnic tolerance and stop violence that could lead to the division of the country.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Friday, Churchill disclosed that he would continue to do all in his power to create a winning mentality and environment for young people by creating employment and setting up empowerment avenues.
The magnate, who was featured on the cover of one of Africa’s top business magazines The Entrepreneur Africa, ahead of the planned flag-off of his latest empowerment programme, the Green Project, said his latest project:
“It is an agro-business empowerment scheme and we’re set to give out lands for farming and funds to interested youths across Nigeria. We will be selecting 1,000 beneficiaries per state, plus the FCT,” said the businessman, who further disclosed that over 36,000 young people would benefit from the project.
The magazine further traced the Abuja-based entrepreneur’s business history, his passion for ICT and how that passion led to the emergence of the Big Church Group.