“I can’t do everything,” said Prof. Clement Dakas, a former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Jos. “But the little I have, I will share,” he said, Sunday, as he drove round the Plateau State capital, with a truck loaded with nearly 3tons of grains and other staples, seeking and sharing to hungry poor residents.
Dakas, a career scholar for over 20 years has only held a political appointment as Commissioner of Justice. His income all his life has largely been from academic researches, legal and other hired services.
However, Dakas handed out the first local private scholarship to 50 poor students of the university of Jos last December. “Because I have been there, and I know what it means to struggle with your fees and other academic obligations,” he said, giving the University authorities the exclusive right to choose beneficiaries.
The Professor of Law and former Director Nigerian Institute of Law, Abuja, has carried out several other philanthropic interventions. But the scholarships he gave few months after Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, a post-politics period show he meant to help and not merely seek political recognition.
The latest interventions, in the heat of a global health crisis leading to a shutdown of economic and social life were no different.
His first point of call was an uncompleted building near the Plateau State Government House, Rayfield where over 20 homeless poor families have been camping for months.
Dakas merely saw a video on social media showing the conditions of the occupants, and began tracking until he located it. “I am pained seeing that people live in this kind of structure,” soberly said his wife, Beatrice, as she delivered the truckload of staples under the C.J. Dakas Foundation.
The uncompleted building is surrounded by top ranking politicians, who often look away, never caring about the ragged pale looking homeless occupants.
Dakas’ donation, though “little” as he called it was worth the world to the beneficiaries. “Thank you, thank you” was all they could say, with a clearly startled look on their faces.
“We never expected such a kind gesture,” said Mr. Chungyang Bagings, a private health worker who had been volunteering to attend to the families.
From the uncompleted building, Dakas’ team moved to Zawang Orphanage in Southern Jos city, and delivered over 500kgs of grains for the 20 kids there.
Before journalists who had been tracking their movements could pull out their cameras, the team zoomed off to a northwestern urban community in the State capital where over 70 poor widows had been identified. They too were handed about half a ton of grains before journalists and paparazzi could arrive.
The team ended its humanitarian tour in a disabled home where dozens were camped.
“I just pray that others will see the need to also help, because even as we try to stay safe from Coronavirus, without food, one is not sage from unexpected death,” cried Mrs. Dakas.
The humanitarian tour comes few hours before Plateau State resumes lockdown, after a few days break.
The beneficiaries, all visibly stunned, probably had no hopes of getting food for the period of social and economic shutdown. Their joy probably knows no bounds.