Support Our Troops (SOT) Foundation, a military charity organization in collaboration with the African Union (AU)-Economic Social and Cultural Council ECOSOSCC) has inaugurated a Board that will provide governance, oversight and leadership for the social housing scheme for widows of military and security personnel.
The inauguration of the Board in Abuja followed the successful signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SOT and the AU-ECOSOCC in October 16, to provide 600 low-cost houses in every state for widows of military and security personnel in Nigeria.
The project, expected to commence by the end of 2020 with 600 units of houses in Abuja, will have social amenities like medical clinic, shopping complex, school, sports and worship centres among other facilities.
The project will be replicated in every state across the country with a new site opening every two years. At completion, over 21,000 homes for families of members of the Nigerian armed forces would have been built.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Board, the founder Support Our Troops (SOT) Foundation, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue said the board will provide governance, oversight and leadership for the project.
Representatives in the Board will play dual role of serving as board members and at the same time part of an inter-ministerial committee.
Mrs. Ogbue said the fundamental reasons behind the creation of the Board, was to give the project the necessary firepower.
She said, “this board is almost like a tornado to really give the project the power to take-off otherwise it will go the way of other similar projects that have been conceptualized.”
Membership of the board is drawn from representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Women Affairs, SOT, AU-ECOSSOC with plans for expansion to other critical organizations and individuals.
She said the role of the board would be to harmonize the several interests that have emerged following the launch of the project last month.
“They are to ensure that the project does not get hijacked and that it has the right force and the right leadership. They are to ensure transparency, inclusiveness, accountability and shared ownership to make the project truly remarkable,” she said.
Mrs. Ogbue said that in terms of time commitment, “the Board will meet once in three months, essentially four times a year and at the inter-ministerial level they will meet every two weeks.”
On his part, the Nigeria Representative AU-ECOSSOC, Dr. Tunji Asaolu said the Board membership has been extended to even the Ministry of Defence for the purpose of inclusiveness, accountability and to show that there was no hidden agenda behind the project.
“What we are doing today is a legacy. Legacy in the sense that we have come together to provide solution to
the challenges the wife of our fallen heroes face and also add value to the Nigerian military,” he said.
A representative from the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Suleiman Mshelia said the project is well conceived, timely and commendable.