When the Victim Support Fund was launched last two year by former President Goodluck Jonathan so many people were skeptical about the genuineness of the mission. So many people thought that money will be raised in the name of helpless terror victims and then be diverted into private pockets. However when President Jonathan named General T.Y Danjuma (rtd) as the Chairman of the Fund, everybody sat up and paid close attention because the General is a no nonsense man who has established a reputation for honesty and accountability over the years. Another reason was also because the General is from the north east region of the country, the very nucleus of the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists. In fact the North East Star magazine wrote an editorial at that time on the issue. The editorial is reproduced here:
WHY T.Y DANJUMA’S VICTIMS SUPPORT FUND MUST NOT FAIL.
In 2012, an unprecedented flood ravaged several states in Nigeria, affecting over 7 million people, displaced 2.3 million people, killed over 363 persons, damage and destroyed about 597, 476 houses. To ameliorate the situation, In October 2012, the Federal Government of Nigeria immediately provided a total of NGN17.6 billion [States will receive NGN13.3 billion, while Federal Agencies will recieve NGN4.3 billion]. About US$12.8 million was recieved from donors (individuals and organizations). Post disaster needs assesement put the estimated total value of damages and losses at about 2.6 trillion Naira [US$16.9 billion.
It is sad to say that most of the flood victims are yet to benefit from the resources raised to help them. Where they were contacted by the authorities, they were given chicken feed as compensation or aid from the authorities. For example so many people were given a paltry sum of N3000 in Kogi state. As usual some not so honourable officials, just like how they siphoned the money given to the families’ of the Chibok kidnapped girls, decided to feed fat on the flood victims. One is compelled to say, with a frown face, that this ungodly act of defrauding Nigerians who are sobbing inconsolably because of the lost of their loved ones, and livelihood is the utmost height of depravity.
The launch of the Terror Victims Support Fund, chaired by General T.Y Danjuma is not only timely, but necessary, given the high deplorable and chronic suffering the insurgents had unleashed on Nigerians. This money should be use to tackle the pervasive social and economic issues like poverty, access to education, unemployment and radical ideologies. The Fund must find viable ways of reaching out to the real victims of the insurgency with food, clothing, shelter, and where necessary, with capital to start or expand small businesses. It must identify and locate those whose bodies have been mutilated, wounded and incapacitated by the insurgents.
General T.Y Danjuma is one Nigerian who commands tremendous respects and goodwill in Nigeria. And luckily he hails from the north-eastern region of the country, the main nucleus of the imbroglio. This is an opportunity for the General to write his name in gold.
At the moment, the fate of millions of Nigerians who are victims of terrorism in Abuja,Kano,Kaduna,Gombe,Plateau,Bauchi,Adamawa,Katsina,Taraba,Yobe and most importantly Borno is in his hands.
Therefore this over N80 billion must be judiciously used.
OBJECTIVES OF THE VICTIM SUPPORT FUND
- Economic empowerment for victims of terrorism (women)
- Educational support for terror-affected and displaced children
- Psychosocial support for people affected by terrorism
- Facilitation of foster programming for children orphaned by terrorism
- Support for over-stretched hospitals to provide free treatment to victims of terrorism
- Critical assessment of state of insurgency in the Nigeria
- Socio–Economic analysis of the impact of insurgency on the victims
TERMS OF REFERENCE/OBJECTIVES
To identify sources and ways of raising sustainable funding to support victims of Boko Haram terror activities;
To manage, disburse and/or administer support to the victims as appropriate;
To address related challenges as may be appropriate;
To advise Government on other m
To develop appropriate strategies for the fund raising;
To ascertain the persons, communities, facilities and economic assets affected by Boko Haram terror activities;
To assess and determine the appropriate support required in each case.
The North East Star in particular has been following up with the activities of the Fund since its inception with a view to ascertaining if weather the objectives of creating the Fund is being achieved. The magazine was in Borno,Yobe ,Adamawa and Abuja to closely monitor the way and manner funds realized by the VSF is being utilized the help the victims of terrorism in the country but with particular interest on the north east region.
The magazine is pleased to say that the VSF under the leadership of General Danjuma and the working committee chaired by the Executive Director has lived up to expectation even through there are areas were improvements can be made. The Victim Support Fund has designed and implemented programs that range from skill acquisition training to women on head gear knitting, to donations of financial support to various medical centers in the north east region, to outright donation to cash of up to 250 million to states governments in the region. It is good note that the Fund alongside National Emergency Management Agency has foot the medical bills of terror victims in the north east, and this is being done without bias to religious, tribe or status. For example when the North East Star magazine visited the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri to ascertain the situation of things, we were impressed. The Fund established a center in the hospital, just very close to the Accident and Emergency Unit to offer prompt assistance to victims of bomb blast and gun shots and other related mishaps associated with IDP’s. The Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of UMTH, Prof Tahir Munguno took the magazine round the hospital to show them all that the hospital was able to do because of the support of the Fund. Below are photos of equipments bought with the support of the Fund,
The Fund also donated a whooping sum of 250 million to the Borno State Government to reconstruct and rehabilitate the ancient city of Dikwa so that the displaced inhabitants can go back to their resettlement.
“· Distribution of relief materials to 10,000 households in Waru – FCT, Yola – Adamawa, and Maiduguri – Borno.
- 2 Billion Naira donated to the Safe Schools Initiative for the provision of security for school children in the Northeast. …”
Interventions made by the Victim Support Fund to the region are numerous, magnanimous and with far reaching impact. Some of them are:
- Distribution of relief materials to 10,000 households in Waru – FCT, Yola – Adamawa, and Maiduguri – Borno.
- 2 Billion Naira donated to the Safe Schools Initiative for the provision of security for school children in the Northeast.
- N237 million Naira financial support to 14 Hospitals in Adamawa, Gombe, Borno and Yobe, Taraba, Kano, Plateau and Abuja to provide free medical care to victims of insurgency.
- Cash support of N10, 000.00 each to 391 pregnant women in Borno IDP camps.
- Women Economic Empowerment Programme of 7000 women in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
- Educational Support Project for 51291 school children affected by insurgency.
- Psychosocial Support for women and children.
- Bama IDP camp intervention in conjunction with UNICEF and the Nigerian Army / provision of grinding machine, recreational toys and medication from UNICEF.
- Foster Care for separated orphaned and children.
“The Northeast Star magazine is doing a feature story and complete report on the activities of the Victim Support Fund in the north eastern region of Nigeria.
This is first part of the report. Interviews with the Executive Director and the Chairman will follow, and more reports covering Yobe and Adamawa will also be released.”
The Northeast Star magazine is doing a feature story and complete report on the activities of the Victim Support Fund in the north eastern region of Nigeria. This is first part of the report. Interviews with the Executive Director and the Chairman will follow, and more reports covering Yobe and Adamawa will also be released. Thus far the Fund deserves commendation from well meaning Nigerians because unlike NEMA and the various SEMA’s in the region, the Fund has not been associated with anything that has to do with corruption and misappropriation of funds.
We are of the opinion that the Fund will be to the north east region what the Marshall Plan was to Germany and others. We hope to see strong and harmonious collaboration between the Fund and the much awaited North East Development Commission.
A PROFILE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VICTIM SUPPORT FUND
Sunday Abogonye Ochoche has over 30 years’ experience in the UN system, government and academia. Between 2006 and 2013, he served with the United Nations as Senior Political Affairs Officer in the UN Missions in Sierra Leone and Darfur, Sudan; Senior Policy Advisor with the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) of the UNDP, New York; and Director of Political Affairs at the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Mogadishu.
From 2000 to 2006 he was Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria, in which capacity he also served as Adviser to the President on Conflict Management in Africa. He was Associate Professor of Political Science and Defence Studies at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Nigeria. He also served as Deputy Director Military Strategy/Directing Staff and, later, Director of Research and Publications at the Nigerian War (now Defence) College, Abuja. He taught Political Science at the University of Jos, Nigeria, from 1983 to 1993 and was SSRC-MacArthur Individual Visiting Fellow to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Brighton, England in 1987.
In 2002, he headed a 4-Nation ECOWAS Team to Investigate the Matter Between Guinea Bissau and Gambia. He was a member of the Nigeria-led ECOWAS high level team that mediated in the conflict between General Mane and President Vierra of Guinea Bissau in 1998; and member of the National Committee for the drafting of Nigeria’s Defense Policy, 1997. He serves as Advisor to International Conflict and Security (INCAS) Consulting, London.
Sunday Ochoche was a Post-doctoral Fellow of the SSRC-MacArthur Foundation in International Peace and Security Studies, at the Gen Matthew B. Ridgway Centre for International Security Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA. He holds PhD (1983) and M.A. (1981) degrees in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, England and B.A. (1977) in Philosophy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the War College (fwc).