The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has commended Airtel for touching the lives of millions of Nigerians through its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Airtel Touching Lives.’
Pantami was speaking at the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives Season 5, which held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island and was attended by prominent personalities including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and famous novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among many others.
The Minister described Airtel as a company that innately cares about the well-being of Nigerians, spurring it to impact and render a helping hand to a million year after year, despite not being bound by the law to do so.
“Corporate Social Responsibility on this scale is not required by law in many nations around the world. It is not a hard law but there are socially conscious companies that truly feel it is part of their own law. While it is not enforceable, I think a company like Airtel coming up with this initiative and sustaining it is highly commendable.”
Isa went on to express his gratitude to the telecommunications giant for its consistency, stating that seeing some of the heartfelt stories of the people, communities, families and underprivileged individuals who have benefited from the Airtel Touching Lives initiative has motivated him to support the company by investing his salary in Airtel top-up.
He further stated that: “CSR goes a long way and I am also a beneficiary of it. I benefited from CSR as a Computer Science undergraduate in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, where I was awarded a scholarship by a private organization.
“I must say, one of the beauties of having wealth is being able to touch other people’s lives positively and this is one investment that never fails anyone in life. Seeing Airtel doing this without expecting anything in return is a source of inspiration, not only for public officers in government but also to millions of Nigerians.”
The Minister also assured the company that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is working resolutely to curtail some of the challenges being faced by telecommunications companies in the country.
“We are aware of the challenges facing mobile network operators and I’ve been having discussions on how to resolve them, including the issue of critical national infrastructure and vandalization, among others. The Federal Government has been working to improve safety by directing security agencies to protect telecommunications infrastructure all over the country. Another issue we recently tackled is the issue of the right of way as we addressed this during the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Chairman of the forum has assured me it has been resolved. ”, he added.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo praised Airtel for bringing millions of Nigerians out of despair and for being a beacon of hope in the country, through its Corporate Social Responsibility.
“I really want to laud the effort of Segun Ogunsanya and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives and for doing so in the past five years without fanfare. Listening to the stories of the lives that have been touched must be a reminder of so many others in despair who need our help and comfort. We still need more resources because we can’t do it all, and that is why socially conscious organizations like Airtel is so vital in bridging the huge gap between what the Government can do and what is left to be done”, said Osinbajo in his remarks.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu also lauded Airtel for its contributions to the State Government through the initiative. In his keynote address, the Governor described Airtel as a partner in progress. He commented: “Companies like Airtel is helping us actualize the reason millions of people stand under the rain and in the sun to vote for us as public officers. We truly appreciate companies like Airtel, who are taking the right narrative and steps to truly impact lives without expecting anything in return.”
The Governor went on to reveal some of the contributions Airtel has made in support of the State Government, including the donation of over 200 lines to its security operatives in the RRS. He cited this as a pivotal gesture as communication is an important tool that security operatives need to effectively discharge their duties.