Nigerian economist Tony Elumelu has donated $500,000 to Sierra Leone following the mudslide disaster that hit the country. Elumelu who’s the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation visited Sierra Leone alongside Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Sierra Leone’s President Bai Koroma.
Elumelu narrated how he took a sobering trip down to Sierra Leone and visited survivors of the disaster at the Connaught Hospital. One survivor detailed to Elumelu how she lost her two children and how others lost their livelihood. On his Twitter feed Elumelu described how he was moved by what he witnessed and donated $500,000 towards the rehabilitation and recovery efforts. This is not the first time Elumelu has been involved in charity work in Sierra Leone. During the Ebola outbreak, his two organisations UBA and The Tony Elumelu Foundation were among the first to support Sierra Leone and two other affected countries.
Elumelu who leans towards pan-Africanism said, “We will not at this time of dire need, leave our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone behind.”
The mudslide and flooding disaster in Sierra Leone came at a time when more focus by the western media was paid to the terrorist attacks in Barcelona. The lack of focus on the disaster in Sierra Leone spurred many Africans on Twitter to retweet and share messages on the crisis happening in Sierra Leone. There were messages of displeasure at the imbalance in the manner in which western media covered disasters on the continent as compared to tragedies in Europe and America. Over 1,000 people are reported to have died and 600 missing are missing following the floods and mudslides.
Elumelu himself wasn’t left out of the discussion on unfair reportage or discussions skewed against disasters which happen on the continent. Elumelu said, “All lives whether on the African continent or elsewhere are the same and should attract the same media attention & human sympathy. I also call the attention of the global community to the humanitarian disaster that has happened in Sierra Leone.” He mentioned various western media houses such as CNN, Washington Post and BBC in his tweet.
Interestingly, Elumelu’s charity also begins at home. When a Twitter user said he’d like to know how much Elumelu donated to the victims of Boko Haram, he was shocked to receive a response from the entrepreneur who simply wrote N1 billion ($3M). Elumelu has called for the world to assist Sierra Leone during this crisis.
The disaster in Sierra Leone has seen an overwhelming level of support from fellow Africans, a strong test to the unity and support individual African countries can enjoy from each other. South Africa donated over $600,000 to Sierra Leone, encouraging its citizens to show support to their fellow Africans.