By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos, Nov. 9, 2020 A Nigerian philanthropist, Chief Temitope Ajayi, has given out interest-free loans to 35 Lekki #EndSARS protesters and a handicapped in order to engage them meaningfully.
Ajayi, while giving out the loans on Sunday night to the beneficiaries in Lekki, Lagos, expressed her displeasure with the level of destruction of properties during the protest and thought the loans would positively impact the youth.
She said this was her own way of wading into the problem of youth restiveness, hence, she partnered with Mr Barry Baruwa, Chief Executive Officer, Masterplan Finance to achieve it.
According to her, N1 million loan was disbursed to all the beneficiaries after they had gone through a business academy where they were tutored on business management.
She said the beneficiaries who were some of the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki were fished out with the help of her personal security officers.
She noted that the youth must have been compelled to engage in the protest due to lack of jobs, poverty and they need help.
“As a financial consultant, I made these loan beneficiaries go through some courses on business management that will help them to be successful businessmen and women.
“I have been able to do all these with the help of my partner, Mr Barry Baruwa and some supporters who are my friends in the Diaspora: Mrs Dennis Mobolaji-Williams, Mrs Lilian Ajayi-Ore and Mr Miguel Castilas.
“Each of these people contributed some amount of money for this.
“These youths at this stage need love, attention, patience and constant guidance which we will be providing for them,” she said.
The philanthropist explained that the loans were supposed to be paid back in bits on a weekly basis after disbursement and whoever failed to remit back would automatically lose the opportunity of accessing more loans.
She expressed interest in partnering with the Federal Government, especially the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to empower Nigerian youths for better future for them and the country at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that many of the loan beneficiaries opted for businesses such as: recharge card sales, food sales, fishing, fairly used cloths sales, computer accessories sales, popcorn sales and more.
NAN also reports that a handicapped, Mr Olanrewaju Sanni, was also given the loan and a 2020 model electric wheelchair to accelerate his mobility.
Ajayi said that Sanni, a Computer Engineer, was opportune to have the wheelchair worth N2 million due to his academic excellence in some computer courses in Nigeria and abroad.
Sanni, who could only move around, dragging his buttocks on the ground appreciated the gesture extended to him, describing the entire scenario as a dream come true.
He said this would henceforth make life easier for him as a computer engineer.
“ I am excited, this is actually a dream come true, this is what I have been believing God for and He has done it in a mighty way.
“I’m indeed excited. Each time I think about life without the wheelchair, I am always close to tears, it has really been hell but with this, my life has changed and it becomes easier for me to continue as a computer engineer
“I pray that all the sponsors do not lack joy and may God bless their endeavours,” he said.
Earlier, Baruwa advised the beneficiaries to use the loan efficiently in order to access the second tranche which would be higher than the one accessed now.
He urged them to live responsibly to be useful for themselves and the society as well as utilise the loan to ensure they become financially self-reliant.
“I beg you in the name of God, use the money properly, we want to make you happy, don’t be liabilities to your family members.
“ Whoever invests his or her money well will get more, we have observed that the Nigerian economy is bastardised, so this is our own way of rendering some corporate social responsibility to the public,” he said.