L-R: Senator Gbenga Ashafa; winner 2015 IIDA, Abbas Nafarya Ibrahim; Former CBN Governor, Chief Joseph Sanusi and Group Managing Director, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Mr Deepak Singhal at the 2015 IIDA event held at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.
They are tender but brave, bold and courageous. The speeches of the winner and the second runner-up suggest brilliance, they depict the Nigeria’s leaders of tomorrow. They are the 2015 Indomie Independence Day - Heroes of Nigeria.
Their stories like fairy tales, sounds unbelievable but they are real. The scars are there, corroborating facts and evidences from neighbours also attest to the genuineness of their heroic deeds. All these wrapped together, elicited praises, commendations as well as compassion for these three children whose ages range between 5 and 13 year for emerging winners of the 2015 Indomie Independence Day Awards for Heroes of Nigeria.
The audience made up of people from all walks of life including a Senator of the Federal Republic and business moguls commended Dufil Prima Foods, makers of the Indomie Noodles brand for its enviable, far reaching and impactful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative - combing the entire country and bringing out outstanding children heroes who probably would have gone unsung and unappreciated.
From their stories, the children who emerged winners from over 200 shortlisted entries for the 8th edition of the IIDA, demonstrated outstanding courage and bravery in-spite of their tender nature, very young ages not minding the inherent danger in such acts. They are Abbas Naifarya Ibrahim 13, Innocent Yamawo 5 and Naja Nuhu 12 emerged first, second and third place respectively. The three winners carted home the sum of 1M, 750,000 and 500, 000 respectively.
The winners were presented with their awards at an elaborate event at the prestigious Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event was graced by top government officials, captains of industries, traditional rulers, members of the diplomatic corps, celebrities as well as students.
Mrs. Sola David-Borha, MD, Stanbic IBTC presenting cheque to little Innocent Yamawo, 5years, 2nd place winner (suffered 3rd degree burn while rescuing his sister from an inferno) , Tope Ashiwaju, PR Manager, Dufil Primar Foods and another official of the company.
In his welcome address, Group Managing Director, Dufil Prima Foods, Mr. Deepak Singhal, reiterated the company’s commitment to positively impacting the Nigerian child. He said, “As a company, we believe that in every child lies the seed of greatness. This is in consonance with INDOMIE’S core values. We believe that in the Nigerian child lies the qualities of excellence. This award mirrors the importance and belief of our company in the extraordinary qualities of the Nigerian child which must always be celebrated”.
Speaking further, Mr. Deepak said, “Not only are we encouraged and inspired by the stories of courage and selflessness of these children, as a company, we also take delight in the fact that we are able to positively impact these children so they can be empowered to achieve greater things in life”.
To enrich the evening with a view on enhancing the Nigerian child, a special keynote was delivered by Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, a social entrepreneur and Founder, LEAP Africa, a not for profit organisation with focuses on encouraging leadership and development initiatives for youth and business owners in Nigeria.
Her paper, aptly tagged "The Nigerian Child: The Hope of a Nation", Mrs Nwuneli explained the need for the empowerment of the Nigerian Child. She said, “It is apparent that for any nation to develop economically there is need to improve the nation's human capital by investing heavily on education”.
Impressed with Dufil Primar Foods consistent support for the Nigerian child and the heroic deeds of the IIDA 2015 winners, a serving member of the National Assembly, Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), commended Dufil for the IIDA initiative while he also showered the winners with cash gifts in his personal capacity. The senator donated N300,000, N200,000 and N100,000 for the winner, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively.
First place winner, Abbas Naifarya Ibrahim, a 13 year old SS 2 student of Federal Government Girls College, Kazaure emerged 2015 IIDA overall winner and was rewarded with ₦1M scholarship. Nairfaya, an indigene of Kano state, was awarded for the courage and exemplary act she performed when she alerted authorities of a suspicious object she noticed beside a mosque. Her actions and sense of responsibility saved scores of people from an imminent bomb blast.
Commenting on the award, Naifarya who was overwhelmed by emotions, said, “I feel extremely happy and very proud of myself. I thank Dufil for finding me worthy of this award. I intend to go to the American University of Nigeria, Yola to study medicine. I want to become a medical doctor so I can help people”.
Innocent Yamawo, a seven year old boy whose story of heroism evoked compassion from the audience was adjudged second place winner. Innocent, in a bold attempt to save his baby sister from an inferno which engulfed their house, sustained third degree burns which has left him partially deformed. Although he was able to bring the sister out of the inferno, she was long dead as a result of excessive smoke.
Young Innocent who says his dream is to become a Pastor, was awarded a scholarship grant worth 750, 000. In addition to the grant, Dufil also announced that the company would provide funds for Innocent to have a reconstructive surgery.
At 3rd place is 12 year old Naja Nuhu whose brave heroics and courage saved her family and led to the arrest of armed robbers who had invaded their house. Naja was rewarded with a scholarship grant worth 500, 000 for her show of courage in the face of grave danger.
The award which began in 2008 is geared towards recognising children between the ages of 1 and 15 performed extraordinary acts of heroism in the face of danger or societal challenges. So far, the IIDA initiative has been able to positively impact the lives of about 24 Nigerian children who have shown exemplary courage. The heroic feats of these children will go down in the annals of history and provide inspiration for others.