29th October, 2012
A middle aged Nigerian beggar, identified as Simon Ozoemena, has stunned government officials in Anambra state, eastern Nigeria, by making a donation of N30,000 to the flood victims in the state.
Ozoemena, from Nibo in Awka South Local Government Area, of the state gave the “widow’s mite” during a joint meeting of the state flood disaster relief committee in Awka, the state capital.
The meeting was attended by officials of the state government, camp coordinating committees and the council chairmen of the affected areas.
The beggar, who said he solicited for alms in churches, said he was moved by the plight of the victims.
“They were better-off than me before the incident”, he said.
“I decided to make this humble donation because I was touched that people had to relocate to camps because of the flood, leaving the comfort of their homes. I heard the state government’s appeal on radio and called one of the contact numbers; the person responded very well to me and asked me to come to their meeting today.
“I beg for money mostly from churches and I decided to remove N30,000 from the proceeds to support government’s effort, to reduce their suffering,” Ozoemena said.
Prof. Chinyere Okunna, commissioner for Economic planning and budget who received the donation on behalf of the state government, described the gesture as “highly” emotional and a good omen for the flood victims.
“It is a very emotional moment; the state government is deeply moved by this singular act of charity, especially from someone who depends solely on charity.
“Honestly, a N30,000 donation from a physically challenged beggar is worth more than N1,000,000 donation from an able bodied person.
“We are really impressed and positively challenged to continue the good work we are doing,” she said.
Okunna reiterated the promise that the donations would be judiciously used.
Mr Chinedu Obidigwe, the Council Chairman, Anambra East Local Government, said the major problem facing the people displaced by the flood was their rehabilitation as flood recedes.
“The major tasks include the resettling of the victims, rebuilding their homes, providing soft loans for them to go back to farm and the revival of health facilities in the area.
“I must commend the proactive response of the state government in tackling this disaster, they have done really well,” Obidigwe said.
The chairman said that there were no reported cases of death, rape, robbery and outbreak of diseases in the five camps in his council area.
The camps are located in Umuede, Ifite Ogwari, Igbaku, Fr. Joseph Memorial High school and Unity Primary School.