The following story by Mfonobong Nsehe was published by Forbes on June 26, 2012. To see the original article, click here.
Nigerian Millionaire Donates $1 Million To Rotary International
Sir Emeka Offor, a wealthy Nigerian oil baron, has donated $1 million toPolioPlus, an international polio eradication programme promoted by Rotary International, Nigeria’s Vanguardnewspaper has reported.
Offor, who is the founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Chrome Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in oil trading, biofuels, dredging and logistics, made the donation on Sunday during the ongoing 2013 RotaryInternational Convention taking place in Lisbon, Portugal.
“Polio should have no place in our world. Therefore, today I am giving an additional $1 million to PolioPlus,” he said, during the convention in a video available here.
This is not the first time the Nigerian tycoon is donating to Rotary’s PolioPlus initiative, which provides funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Last year, he gave $250,000 to the program.
Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the few remaining areas in the world that are still affected by Polio.
“Considerable effort is being made to eradicate polio in Nigeria, but at times progress is slow. In 2011, we had 62 documented cases of polio. In 2012, that number increased to 122. This year 26 cases have been documented so far,” Offor explained while announcing the donation.
According to Offor, ignorance, difficulty in accessing affected rural areas and various myths surrounding polio vaccines, particularly in Africa were major obstacles hampering the success of immunization campaigns and efforts by international aid agencies.
“Many parents simply refuse immunizations for their children because they fear that some evil motives are at play or even fear perceived bad side effects,” he complained. “An additional problem is reaching the nomadic and remote populations that are often strongholds for the disease. Even in the best of times, Government capacity to reach these “hidden populations” is severely limited.”
According to report, since the inception of PolioPlus, members of Rotary International have contributed more than $160 million to polio eradication in Nigeria.
Sir Emeka Offor is one of Nigeria’s emerging philanthropists and one of the West African country’s successful men. His Chrome Group which is a Nigerian leader in oil trading, biofuels, dredging and logistics has an annual turnover of over $1 billion according to sources at the company. His Sir Emeka Offor Foundation which he solely funds supports causes in education and health. In May, he donated $600,000 to Books For Africa, a non-profit organization in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA which provides educational books to children in Africa. The foundation also gives aways millions annually in scholarships to underprivileged Nigerian students.