As I walked towards the store exit at Shoprite, Ikeja Shopping Mall, the day before yesterday, I noticed a see-through plastic charity box like the one in the picture, standing on the floor. I couldn’t quite remember if it had always been there on previous visits or if it was just placed for the first time, but for some reason it caught my attention immediately that day.
I believe now what attracted me to the box was my desire to see the Naira denominations shoppers were dropping into it. When I stepped closer, all I could see were the lower denominations ranging from N5 to N20! What surprised me in a humorous way was that at that very moment I was also searching through my pockets and wallet with my minds eye to remember if I had any N10 or N20 notes I could drop in the box. I chuckled!
Considering the abundance in the large store and the seeming affluence of the shoppers, why were they dropping such low denominations instead of higher ones? Why was I also looking for a low denomination to drop when I knew I had higher ones? Was it a crime to drop a N200, N500 or even a N1000 note to help the needy?
I thought about this for a while and eventually concluded that this inclination may come down to the general distrust Nigerians have for charity boxes. Does the money actually get to the intended recipients? What is the real motivation (now thinking in a broader sense) behind forming charities in Nigeria? Is it for the same selfish and corrupt intent we commonly see? At least those were the questions running through my mind when I really thought about it.
Despite my concerns, I sincerely hope the money gets to those that really need it. It would also help if we were told what the previous donations were used for and who the beneficiaries are; then maybe we would be encouraged to give more!