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How retired Air Force General brings succor to less privileged children in Abuja

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By Kunle Awoniyi

On Saturday 30th of April 2021, I went to a garden situated on Abidjan Street Wuse Zone 3 Abuja to keep a date with one of my colleagues who had invited me for a short discursion on the security situation in Nigeria. As a journalist who always wants to be updated on how to secure our nation, I didn’t miss the opportunity. I arrived at about 1600hrs and promptly commenced the discussion with my colleague.
At about 1645, I started noticing the inflow of some children into the garden and became curious.
When I enquired from my friend who usually patronizes the spot, what he told me was incredible. In his words, “I started beholding this spectacle since  January 2021.


Every evening by 5pm, some underprivileged children visit the garden to collect a plate of food prepared for them by the owner of the Garden.
While some will eat theirs right away, some will take home. It has always been a scene to behold as you see the smiling faces of the children when they received the food”. As he was talking, I noticed that the children had fallen in lines with separate lines for the boys and the girls.


The bigger boys are however kept aside until the children are catered for. At the command of one coordinating staff, the children could be seen stepping forward in an orderly manner to collect their foods. I couldn’t control my emotions as I watched the boys and girls depart the collection point with joy and gratitude boldly written on their faces. I asked my friend about the number of children that are fed daily and he responded by saying that the owner of the garden who is a retired Air Force officer once told him that his foundation feeds between Ninety to Hundred children daily. At this point, I made up my mind to meet this compassionate retired General of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.


When I was eventually introduced to this unassuming and humble officer, he didn’t look like a retired General or behaved as such until he started speaking. How may I help you he said in a low but firm tone? I introduced myself and asked him for his reasons for embarking on this humanitarian venture and if he has the wherewithal to sustain the initiative.
Air Commodore Abayomi (rtd) cleared his throat and said: ‘’The initiative really did not start from me. The idea was that of another NAF colleague who solicited the help of my kitchen to produce 20 plates of food in March 2020 to be served at the Zone 3 Mosque every Friday’’. Consequently, the Jazz and Blues Kitchen which I owned took the job of dishing out 20 plates of food to the children as requested by the donor. However, the process did not last long as the donour stopped funding the project after three months. When I thought the dream was dead, my friend appeared again in January 2021 and requested that we start the program of feeding the children all over again but rather than feeding the children on Fridays only, he instructed that they be fed with 20 plates daily.
The 20 plates daily arrangement did not withstand the test of time as the demand kept rising on daily basis. Consequently, the upsurge in the request caught the attention of the Green Heroes Foundation and the Foundation increased the dishes to 40 plates per day. Despite the increment, more children kept trooping in search of a meal therefore the meal had to be increased again. Currently, we feed between 90 to 100 children daily.
Now sir, how have you been coping with the additional meals since your colleague provided for only 20 plates per day? I asked him and his response was really touching.
We have been copping quite well. Immediately we commenced the feeding project, it suddenly dawned on me that these inadequately catered for children could be lured into unimaginable things that could further complicate the security issues in our country.
Over the years, humans have identified poverty, deprivations and hunger as some of the major causes of crimes and insecurity in any nation. Consequently, the GHF took the challenge as our own contribution to ensuring peaceful co-existence of Nigerians. Though our objective is to provide care and support to war veterans and their families in times of need, we chose to do this to demonstrate that by showing Compassion towards each other, we could all contribute to reducing crimes in our society.  
It is our hope to see that as we serve our meals by 5pm daily, other concerned citizens could also create such initiatives in their various communities to provide a sense of belonging to these children and their parents and show some love and care. Hopefully, these children would also reciprocate by being good citizens of our dear nation he concluded.
At the end of my encounter with the retired Air Commodore and watching the children feed excitedly, i felt so touched that I had to support the initiative with #5000:00 Naira to provide Pure water for the children for 6 days.
I wish that other Nigerians could support this initiative or set up similar projects in their various neighborhoods. May the Almighty continue to bless the hand that Giveth. Attached are some pictures from the scene.
   
 

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Sallah: NUJ Commends Maktoub Publisher for Support

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has commended the Publisher/CEO of Maktoub Strategic PR and Publishing, Mariam Mohammed, for her continued support to the union.

In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, the chairman of the council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, described Ms. Mohammed as a consumate public relations and media strategist who is always ready to offer support.

In the statement signed by Secretary of the NUJ FCT Council, Ochiaka Ugwu, he said the latest donation of rams and several bags of rice is a testament to her understanding of the harsh media environment.

“Ms. Mariam Maktoub Mohammed has over time demonstrated that she is friend of the NUJ FCT and continues to offer her support.
“It would be recalled that she was one of the earliest people to donate hand sanitisers and face masks to the Union in the battle against Covid-19.
“Others in PR and media management generally need to learn institutional partnership from her,” the statement reads.
According to Ogbeche, the NUJ looks forward to continue working closely with the Maktoub Group especially in the area of strategic communication and capacity building.

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Leke Abejide celebrates Chief Shola Adebola at birthday

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The Honourable member representing Yagba Federal Constituency and the Chairman, House Committee on Customs & Excise, Honorable Leke Abejide has felicitated with his Chief of Staff and the Director-General Leke Abejide Foundation, Chief Shola Adebola Gadaffi on the occasion of his birthday.
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The Special adviser on Media and Publicity to the lawmaker Abraham Ibukun Eunice quoted him to have described Chief Adebola as an astute leader, pathfinder and mobiliser who has achieved so much for the foundation through utmost dedication and desire to grow.
The statement reads, “His approach towards the efficient organisation and perfect interactions with people in different areas and all works of life has brought about stability to him.
“Chief Shola Adebola is my brother, a great man with tremendous value and honour, community builder, leader, and magnate with content.

“It is with great honour and privilege that I write to congratulate you on the occasion of your birthday. Your contributions to the growth and development of our Leke Abejide foundation remains indelible, incredible and super amazing “On behalf of myself and the good people of Yagba Federal Constituency I congratulate Hon. Shola Adebola on this day as he marks his birthday anniversary.

He prayed that as he marks a milestone in his life, God will grant him long life, sound health and more strength to carry on with a greater and clearer vision.

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CUPP National Secretary eulogises Imoke at 60

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The National Secretary of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), High Chief Peter Ojonugwa Ameh has eulogised former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Senator Liyel Imoke, on the occasion of his 60th birthday anniversary.

In a Congratulatory Statement made available to the NationalUpdate in Avuja on Saturday Ameh described Senator Imoke as a man with incredible leadership qualities, contributing significantly to the glorious years of Nigeria’s return to democracy between 1999 and 2003. 

He said the former Senator in clocking 60, reflects a life of dedication to God and humanity, adding that: “He posseses remarkable Leadership qualities whose years of experience in Resource Adminstration, Legal Practice, Legislature, and statesmanship remain unequalled.”

Beyond sixty, the CUPP Secretary asked Senator Imoke to keep his fire of love, selfless service, compassion, philanthropy, and mentorship to the younger generation burning, praying he witnesses more milestones in sound health, capacity, and wisdom of the Almighty God.

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