Notable entertainment and sports personalities in the country have lent their support to the ongoing staff volunteerism programme of Nigeria's leading telecommunications company, MTN, tagged 21 Days of Y'ello Care. The annual programme initiated by MTN Group in 2007 encourages MTN staff in all its 21 operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to volunteer their resources, time and skills to help others and the communities they live and work in. The Nigerian operation of MTN is focusing on education and malaria eradication during this year's edition of the programme. At the official kick-off of the programme in Lagos recently, dozens of Nigeria's most famous people in entertainment and sports gathered alongside key execs and staff of MTN at the company's Golden Plaza Head Office, Falomo, Lagos, to show their support for the programme.
Nollywood celebrity actors, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme otherwise known as Aki and Pawpaw, and Saint Obi, as well as former Super Eagles players such as Friday Elaho, Ike Shorunmu and a host of others spoke glowingly about the initiative, which they described as a credible initiative to help stem the tide of malaria-induced deaths in Nigeria. Chinedu Ikedieze popularly called 'Aki' by his fans said, I am delighted to be part of MTN's contribution to the general fight to stem the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria. Malaria is a mass killer and any effort aimed at combating it is welcome and should be encouraged. I also would like to commend the company for promoting quality education and for all the social investments they have made in recent past. Saint Obi in his own remarks noted that awareness creation remains a key component in the fight against malaria in Nigeria and indeed Africa. That is why such a programme as 21 Days of Y'ello Care is laudable as it helps to facilitate information flow to the people about how to effectively combat this deadly disease, he said. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MTN Nigeria, Ahmad Farroukh, in his remarks while officially flagging off the programme thanked the celebrities for lending their support to the initiative. He said a combined effort of all and sundry is needed to eradicate the disease from Nigeria. MTN has plugged into two global fronts "United Against Malaria and One Goal. We believe that the prevalence of malaria and illiteracy reduce the country's fortunes economically and developmentally. Statistically a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria in Africa and a high percentage of children are out of school.
This is why we are taking the fight against malaria to the communities where we operate, and lending our support to the global campaign for a better commitment to education, he said. According to Farroukh, scores of MTN staff members will be going around the communities implementing a broad range of activities aimed at kicking out malaria from Nigeria and generally improving the quality of life in the communities. The volunteers will be operating under two teams, Team Educate and Team Eradicate, he said. Present at the official kickoff of the 2010 edition of 21 Days of Y'ello Care were the management and staff of the company. The programme will be rounded off on May 21, 2010 with different activities across the country.