John joined this week’s online UK-Nigeria session from Abuja, where he was due to attend a number of meetings - the most significant of which from our point of view was with the French Embassy. At this, John was to discuss the promised support for Attachab. Meanwhile Kelechi and Chollom joined us from Fantsuam while the UK provided three participants, based in Leeds and London.
We were pleased to hear there are reports of some semblance of normality returning to Kafanchan as people of all faiths were beginning to interact at the old and new market sites.
John informed us that as yet there have been no Government directives on the re-building of the market. Apparently it is not yet seen as a priority. He said the Committee was going to see how best to fit/feed into whatever the Government may eventually choose to do. In the meantime they are trying to meet the needs of their local community.
John also informed us that so far one woman has collected her N30,000 loan towards restarting her business - and that the remaining six beneficiaries will receive theirs when Comfort returns.
These women clients were selected by the field officer. John believes that five are Christian and the remaining two are Muslim. This reflects the proportion of these religions in FF’s clientele. John also pointed out that each woman trader is in turn supporting at least six family members, including their children, spouse, aged parents etc
It was also encouraging to learn that Fantsuam Foundation Field Officers are making more visits to assist their Muslim clients.
However there was sad news as John informed us that a 67year-old member of our Sickle Cell support group collapsed and died last Saturday. It is thought this was connected to the stress of the recent crisis. In further tragic news, a baby who had been delivered safely at the clinic later and unexpectedly died at home.
Kelechi was able to update us on the latest situation concerning the students at the Academy He said “Enrolment is picking up at the academy, we currently have nine classes running - mostly in the advanced sessions, diploma 5, CCNA 2, and ITE 2.
“I can say things are picking up but slow. The mood is still low, we have lost one key staff member, Akin, who was in charge of Gaiya. He has moved back to Lagos. A couple of staff are also yet to resume duties. Some of them were displaced during the crisis.”
Chollom, the network administrator for Zitnett had himself been displaced by the turmoil and is currently staying at Fantsuam Foundation. He reported that business for Zittnet had been adversely affected - people being very concerned with the business of day to day survival following the post-election violence. However, he noted that there had been a number of people coming to ask for their phones to be enabled so that that can 'roam'. The phones are typically from China and are not smartphones although it has been observed that the use of smartphones is steadily increasing.