Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Wife of the Delta State Governor, Dame Edith Okowa, has denied receiving a N3.5 billion (US $10 million) donation in support of her efforts to ameliorate the suffering of persons living with sickle cell anaemia and to promote children welfare through her organisation, The 05 Initiative.
The wife of the governor made the clarification while briefing journalists on activities of The 05 Initiative in her office at the Government House in Asaba, the state capital, yesterday.
In apparent reaction to international media reports that her non-governmental organisation has been offered a grant of N3.5billion in appreciation of its programme and projects, particularly in the area of sickle cell management in Nigeria, Okowa stated that she had not received any such donation nor even signed an agreement on such financial commitment.
Nonetheless, she acknowledged the promise by a United States of America-based and United Nations-recognised NGO to assist in the digitisation of sickle cell clinics in Delta State.
Mrs. Okowa said: “A major outcome of our UN presentation is the expressed desire of The Initiative for Global Development to partner The 05 Initiative. Their interest is centred on digitising our sickle cell clinics across the state. This will generate critical data that will aid the management of sickle cell patients.
“I would like to state categorically that no memorandum of understanding has been signed and no financial commitment has been made.”
The wife of the state governor, however, expressed gratitude to various individuals and corporate bodies for their financial, material and moral supports especially for the sustenance of her pet project, The 05 Initiative.
“They helped us to succeed and shine,” she said, adding: ‘’I promise you all that we will strive to do more to change our world; one person at a time.’’
The Delta State first lady and founder of The 05 Initiative had during the side event of the recent 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA, advocated for increased support for persons living with sickle cell, even as she presented a depiction with the theme: ‘Sickle Cell Disorder, the Forgotten and Neglected: Any Hope for the Children’.
Earlier, she highlighted the people-oriented mission and activities of her organisation, including a Prison Welfare Programme, empowerment scheme for women, provision of decent housing for orphans, clothing of indigent school children as well as regular free medical outreaches for the people.