Juliana Francis

The 21st of June is here again. It is the birthday of the Chairman of the Police Commission, Dr. Solomon Ehigiator Arase.

He is also a distinguished retired Nigerian Police Officer who served as the 18th Inspector General of  Police.

For years, his birthday has been marked with various philanthropic activists, merged with lectures bordering on security.

However, the most outstanding for people, especially indigenes of Edo State and members of the Nigeria Police, are the scholarships usually awarded to indigent students in Edo State and children of deceased police personnel by a foundation set up by Arase for his mom, Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation

According to Arase, he ventured into the philanthropist lane to honour his late mom.

It will be recalled that the Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation was established in memory of Late Mercy Igbe-Arase, a seasoned old-fashioned teacher who insisted that “knowledge is the only enduring asset one can acquire in one’s lifetime, the only wealth worth pursuing and the bedrock for the attainment of self-esteem and excellence in all endeavours.”

The foundation was initiated by her son, Solomon Ehigiator Arase, together with friends and family to continue her legacy and honour her memory.

The foundation’s history is rooted in the values and principles that she embodied, including a strong commitment to education and, the legacy of service, knowledge and empathy.

Since its inception, the Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation has made significant strides in achieving its objectives including, awarding scholarships annually to students, and providing them with the financial support needed to pursue their academic dreams.

It is also known for organising community development projects that drive positive change such as health outreach programmes and skills training programmes in Ora, Edo State and collaborating with local organisations to promote human rights, focusing on vulnerable groups and advocating for social justice.

The foundation’s consistent efforts have led to a tangible impact in the lives of many, fostering a brighter future for individuals and communities alike.

Arase has often maintained that by providing access to education, promoting community development and championing human rights, “the Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation is leaving a lasting legacy in the lives of those it serves.”

There is also the Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation, which was incorporated in the year 2022.

Guided by his conviction that education is a treasured asset that never loses its value, Arase founded the organisation to champion educational excellence, empower individuals and foster community development.

It was gathered that through the foundation, Arase continues to inspire and make a lasting impact on the lives of many.

In its inaugural year, the Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation hosted its maiden annual lecture series, themed “Citizens’ Inclusion in Security Management: The Edo State Model.”

The landmark event featured the presentation of cheques to the first batch of scholarship recipients and a donation of essential security items to local governments in the Edo South Senatorial zone.

The donations, made possible through the generosity of six patriots, included: 50 motorcycles with helmets, One branded Sienna Van, 1400 branded shirts, 1400 branded fez caps, 1400 whistles, 200 raincoats and 210 torchlights.

These contributions aimed to enhance security and community development in the region as they also aligned with Arase’s vision of empowering individuals and fostering community growth through education and security initiatives.

In its second year, the Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation expanded its reach by not only catering for students of the Edo South Senatorial District but also including children of late Inspectors and Rank and File of the Nigeria Police Force who died in service.

The foundation marked this significant milestone with two consecutive events, a thanksgiving service which was held at Benin City, Edo State, to express gratitude for the foundation’s progress and impact.

The thanksgiving service was followed by the foundation’s Second Annual Lecture Series, themed “The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Civil and Criminal Cases by Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria.”

The thought-provoking lecture aimed to explore the advantages of ADR in promoting effective conflict resolution and enhancing the criminal justice system.

The event also witnessed the presentation of cheques to the second batch of beneficiaries of the SEAF scholarship scheme, further demonstrating the foundation’s commitment to supporting educational excellence and empowering young minds.

In its third year, the Foundation marked a more subdued milestone, opting for a more intimate celebration. The foundation hosted the beneficiaries for a private lunch and cheque presentation, focusing on the scholars and their achievements.

Despite the more solemn tone, the event remained a testament to the foundation’s unwavering commitment to supporting educational excellence and empowering young minds.

The Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation (SEAF) and the Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation share a common mission to support undergraduate studies by recognizing academic excellence and potential.

Guided by two primary objectives, the foundations aim to enhance the capacity of security agents through collaborative workshops and conferences with law enforcement agencies and relevant government entities, focusing on fundamental human rights compliance.

They both also provide educational opportunities for underprivileged individuals, promoting academic excellence and personal growth.

Both foundations firmly believe that education is the cornerstone of personal and societal development and are committed to fostering academic excellence.

The Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation focuses on supporting indigenes from the Edo South Senatorial District, comprising Egor, Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, and Uhunmwonde Local Governments, and Children of late Police inspectors and rank and file, the Mercy Igbe Arase Foundation specifically caters to students from the Owan West and Owan East local government areas of Edo State.

Summarily, 100 students have been registered under both foundations, where 38 have graduated and completed their mandatory service year and currently sponsor a total number of 61 undergraduates in over 20 institutions.

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