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The terror victims support fund

The Council of States under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan initiated a Victims Support Fund for the purpose of rehabilitating the victims of terrorism…

The Council of States under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan initiated a Victims Support Fund for the purpose of rehabilitating the victims of terrorism in the North-East of the country, being the epicentre of the ravages of the onslaught of the insurgency. To administer the fund, a committee comprising financially endowed Nigerians under the joint leadership of General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, a former minister of defence, and Mr Fola Adeola, a frontline member of corporate Nigeria, was inaugurated.
Ostensibly inspired by the Marshall Plan of 1945, with which the United States of America helped rebuild Western Europe from the ravages of the Second World War, the initiative is to take-off with a base of N30 billion, to which the Federal Government would contribute the sum of N10 billion, while the same sum would come from the 36 state governments collectively and the private sector to generate N10 billion. However, at the fund raising dinner for the project, a higher sum of N65 billion was raised in pledges and donations, indicating an enthusiastic expression of fraternity with the good people of the North-East by the rest of the country. Target areas of the fund’s intervention include the rebuilding of schools as well as other infrastructure that had been destroyed by the insurgents.
It is noteworthy that this effort is coming at a time of indescribable calamity in the affected communities, especially in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which have also been under prolonged state of emergency. In the course of the insurgency whole towns have been sacked with residents uprooted and scattered all over the country and beyond as refugees, economic activities have been disrupted and hundreds of lives lost with attendant wastage of property. Even hallowed premises of worship such as churches and mosques have been destroyed with worshippers killed routinely. A most poignant feature of the ravages of the insurgency remains the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from in their official school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State.
As President Jonathan rightly observed, the schoolgirls and all the other victims are innocent unsuspecting persons living ordinary lives when the perpetrators of terror visited them with mayhem leading to the loss of their lives, limbs, comfort and property. This is why they deserve the sympathy and support of the entire country, in the context of which the fund is established. For while they may be bearing the brunt of the crisis directly, their agony by proxy is that of all Nigerians, since the thrust of the insurgency is to compromise the integrity of the entire nation. No Nigerian in any part of the country can or should feel safe from the ravages of the madness manifesting as Boko Haram insurgency.
Having noted the significance of this undertaking, it is essential to stress that the history of past disaster relief initiatives dictate that the General Danjuma-led committee must address its mission with selfless commitment and diligence to ensure that the dividends of the enterprise percolates to the designated beneficiaries. This expectation shall be realized by the committee through exploring a synergy between itself and the stakeholders in the zone, comprising the state governments, the local government councils, business groups and community leaders, to name just a few.
It is also expected of the committee to place their focus on making the beneficiary economies surpass pre-Boko Haram era. This expectation dictates a more profound approach to their task. It means that the fund should not be for sharing to individuals who may deploy same to ephemeral and unprofitable ends – though addressing pressing needs could constitute part of the task. A master plan should also be evolved to foster meaningful economic development, in which issue of industrialization should enjoy deserved emphasis. This will change the story of the zone and meet the expectations of all Nigerians who are clearly determined to see the end of the misery brought upon the country by the Boko Haram insurgency.

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