By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos – Lions Clubs International says it has spent 37 million dollars (N11.32 billion) on various humanitarian projects across Nigeria in the last 30 years.
Lion Samuel Ekpuk, Area Leader, Global Action Team, Lions Club, disclosed this during the club’s celebration of 100 years Birthday of Sir Akintola Williams, the Doyen of Accounting profession, in Lagos on Saturday evening.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lions Club International founded in 1917, was the world’s largest humanitarian club organisation.
It has over 1.4 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 206 countries, with Nigeria accounting for about 7,500 Lions in the country.
Ekpuk said that over 10 million Nigerians had benefited from the various projects implemented by Lions across the country.
He said the club’s intervention projects focused on vision, diabetes control, youth empowerment, eradication of hunger and protection of the environment.
“In 2018, 682, 000 lives in Nigeria were touched by the activities of Lions; one in 10 Nigerians have received one gift or service provided by Lions,’’ he said.
Ekpuk said some of the projects were: first-ever Accident Clinic in Nigeria; Lekki Motherless Babies Home; construction of Mercy Home at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); establishment of an Eye Centre in Isolo, Lagos and Ota, Ogun State.
Others were two million dollars to eradicate Onchocerciasis or River blindness disease in Nigeria; $850, 000 to rehabilitate Osogbo General Hospital, establishment of Cancer Centre at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
He said the Club also established a Dialysis Centre in Lagos, Diabetes Centre in Calabar, among other projects that has touched and impacted the lives of millions of Nigerians.
Ekpuk said the club was celebrating Williams because he was the first Nigerian to join Lions Clubs in 1964 and led the formation and charter of many Lions Clubs across the country.
“He contributed immensely to the success of the clubs in Nigeria and was involved in so many humanitarian services and various community projects established by these clubs,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Jung-Yul Choi, International President, Lions Clubs, said William’s contributions had made a real difference in the club and in Nigeria.
“Your legacy extends beyond your impressive achievements and is a testament to the capacity of an individual to make a difference in the world.
“You are the breath that sustains our association and the voice that speaks our motto `We Serve’, to those in need.
“For more than 58 years, your hard work and perseverance have improved the lives of others and your commitment to service ensures that many more lives will be positively impacted in the years to come,’’ he said.
Choi said that William’s courage, compassion and commitment to restore human dignity made him an outstanding and exemplary Lion.
Similarly, Lion Adekunle Adedipe, Doyen’s District Governor, 404A1 Nigeria, said William’s effort in bringing Lions Clubs to Nigeria had put smiles on the faces of the less- privileged members of the society.
He said the activities of Lions had raised moral and educational standards among youths and saved sights of people, who otherwise would have gone blind.
Responding, Williams, said he was pleased to have clocked 100 years and was looking forward to celebrating 200 years so that he could do more to service humanity.
“It is necessary to appreciate what we have achieved and to continue to do whatever is necessary. Most of our members are always anxious to see the best done for the clubs.
“We shall do our best to see that the clubs are kept up-to-date, as there is no reason why we should not continue to survive.
“As far as I am concerned, I will continue to do my best,’’ Williams said.
He urged the youths to be available to render services that would impact on lives, saying that the club would establish more branches across the country so as to touch more lives.