The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, has reiterated the need for the introduction of measures that
would ensure the well-being of Nigerian children and the youth from cradle to adulthood.
He made this submission at an event to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Bethesda Child Support Agency in Lagos on March 27, 2013. FCMB is a major sponsor of the Agency, which is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has been providing free and qualitative education to orphans and vulnerable children in four communities across Lagos and Ogun states.
Balogun, who presented a book titled, “Bethesda: An Evolution!”, stressed that as an integral segment of the society, the educational, socio-economic and other welfare needs of children and the youth, “should be accorded priority in all facets of our national life. It is imperative that we provide the right environment, skills and attitude to realise their potentials so that they can contribute meaningfully to national development”.
The FCMB helmsman explained that the bank’s support for the agency derives from, “our commitment to actively invest in different communities, institutions and causes that would impact positively on not just individuals, but the society as a whole”.
While describing the evolution and success story of Bethesda, “as amazing”, Balogun commended the agency and its parent arm (that is, Freedom Foundation), for sustaining their objectives of discovering and restoring hope to the life of children. He assured that the bank will continue to offer its support towards actualising these objectives.
The Project Coordinator of the Bethesda Child Support Agency, Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu, stated that, “our success is directly linked to the support system of a vibrant, committed and active group of people who play different roles in sustaining the project”.
She added that, “we are happy to see that our efforts are yielding appreciable results; transforming lives and improving the well being of our children”. Mrs. Rapu expressed gratitude to FCMB, “for staying the course and always being there for us”.
She informed that plans are ongoing to build permanent school structures in the four communities where the agency has presence.
In her address, the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, expressed gratitude to Bethesda and its partners in rehabilitating vulnerable children by providing them with education and their proper upbringing. Mrs. Fashola, who also presented a book titled, “Tortoise and the Magical Dancing Shoes”, written by children of the Agency, urged other organisations to emulate, “these good deeds”.
The Bethesda Child Support Agency has four schools located in Ikota, Bariga, Ijaiye-Ojokoro and Matogun on the outskirts of Lagos State and presently has 655 children on scholarship.
The scholarship programme includes basic education for school age children, mentorship opportunities and the establishment of educational institutions termed “Schools-In-Poor-Communities”.
Since 2009, FCMB has partnered Bethesda Child Support Agency to ensure that vulnerable and displaced children are provided an enabling environment to develop and acquire essential skills to facilitate their escape from the vicious cycle of poverty which so often entraps them.
Apart from Mr. Balogun and Mrs. Fashola, among the other dignitaries at the event were the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Lagos State, Mr. Ben Akabueze; the wife of the Head of Service of the State, Mrs. Adenike Ogunlewe; the Deputy Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Segun Odusanya; Pastor Tony Rapu of This Present House and ace actress, Mrs. Joke Silva.