By Rita Iliya
Business Mogul and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Thursday visited Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), at his uphill residence in Minna.
Dangote was accompanied by his daughter, Hajiya Halima Dangote and her husband, Alhaji Suleiman Bello and some members of Dangote group.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dangote was in the state capital to attend the launching and disbursement of Aliko Dangote Foundation N250 million micro grant to 25,000 vulnerable women in Minna.
Dangote, after attending the event at Justice Legbo Idris Conference Hall, Minna, was also accompanied by Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, Sen. Bala Ibn Naallah, Deputy Majority Leader and Mr Mikail Bmitosahi, Chief of Staff to Gov. Bello.
NAN reports that the duo had a closed door meeting that lasted for more than one hour.
However, Dangote did not disclosed to newsmen the outcome of his meeting with the former president.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation had at a programme earlier offered a micro grant totaling N250 million to 25, 000 vulnerable women in Niger.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, said during the disbursement of the funds to the women in Minna on Thursday that the programme was aimed at improving the livelihood of the women.
He explained that the programme, which commenced in 2012, had 1, 000 beneficiaries in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
Dangote said the programme, which would ultimately cost the Foundation N10 billion, was aimed at complementing the economic empowerment and poverty reduction drive of state governments.
“The programme is meant to support socio-economic change through strategic investment and intervention that improves the lives of the less privileged in the country.
“The goals of the foundation are health, nutrition, education, economic empowerment and others,” he said.
The chairman added that the micro grant programme was one of the components of the foundation to provide vulnerable women with unconditional cash transfer of N10, 000.
He said the programme would help reduce their vulnerability and meet their needs, and that the foundation had partnered Access Bank to open bank accounts for the beneficiaries.
He promised to continue to support vulnerable women and deserving members of the society across the country and Africa as a whole.
In his address, Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, commended the foundation for its positive impact in the lives of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa.
He said his administration had prioritised women and youth empowerment as 5, 000 youths have been trained through various vocational skills acquisition programmes.
Bello added that the skills acquisition and empowerment programmes had helped in improving the standard of living and changed the socio-economic status of women and youths in the state.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Aisha Mohammed, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), promised to make judicious use of the money to improve her livelihood.
“I want to thank Dangote for his show of concern for women. I will use the money to start a small business in my community to better my lot,” she said.