Valentine Ozigbo, a leading Nigerian philanthropist and founder of Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, has offered a cash donation to frontline workers who displayed outstanding acts of kindness, responsibility, and compatriotism during the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.
While unveiling the initiative on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 on social media with the hashtag #EndSARSHeroes, Mr. Ozigbo noted the polarity of the events surrounding the #EndSARS protests which was a call for the disbandment of the Special Anti-robbery Unit of the Nigeria Police Force and police brutality.
“The peaceful #EndSARS protest by youths demanding an end to police brutality was overtaken by angry youths who committed wanton acts of violence across the country,” the respected business leader wrote in a social media post.
“Whilst one group called for responsible action, the other displayed heights of irresponsibility. One was well organised, while the other riotous. One was an act of heroism by youth demanding positive change in their country; the other committed despicable acts of destruction.
Mr. Ozigbo noted that as the “stories of chaos, confusion, and carnage were rolling in, so also were stories of courage, patriotism, and compassions”.
“We heard and read stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to protect lives, to save lives, and to keep our communities safe. They are my definition of heroes; people who overcame fear and rekindled faith. People who showed that we, as a people, are better than the worst stories told about us,” he said.
He went on to announce a cash reward of N500,000 to be paid through his non-governmental organisation, VCO Foundation, to 10 of the best stories of #EndSARSHeroes told using the hashtag.
While stressing the significance of celebrating the inspiring people behind the stories of courage, Mr. Ozigbo mentioned the case of Chief Superintendent of Police, Rabiu Garba, the Divisional Police Officer of Fegge in Onitsha, Anambra State whose intervention prevented angry youth from burning down the Fegge Police Station in Onitsha.
He praised CPS Garba for his investment in the community he served and mentioned that he had reached out to the top brass in the police force and confirmed the heroic story of the Yobe State-born police DPO.
According to Ozigbo, stories like this are “a shining example of the responsible and responsive leadership that our country needs at a time like this”.
He therefore called on Nigerians to share similar stories using the #EndSARSHeroes hashtag to recognise and celebrate those Nigerians who went beyond their call of duty to protect and save lives. People who were simply being human.
“It could be the health worker who stepped up to treat the wounded, the community leader who intervened to prevent violence in his community, the police officer or soldier who took positive steps to protect the vulnerable or other inspirational stories,” he wrote.