Alkasim Abdulkadir: Hope for the Boko Haram victims

by Alkasim Abdulkadir

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In the final analysis, there is reassurance in the President’s speech that this regime of violence is reaching its turning point “Let me reiterate clearly that evil will never prevail over good

The picture of the humanitarian catastrophy wrought by years of insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria is staggering, the displacement of Nigerians from their everyday lives and economic eco-systems has ensured that they live fractured lives today. This has affected health care, hygiene, education, agriculture and personal psychological imbalance. Boko Haram’s campaign of violence has instilled not only a regime of perpetual fear but a general blanket of insecurity beyond the North East, with the tragic toll death and untold pain and suffering to a region already adjudged as one of the poorest in the world.

As such on Wednesday 16th July 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the Victims Support Fund Committee and in his exact words to “To kickstart a process of providing succor to our people who have been directly affected one way or the other by acts of terrorism in the country” To achieve this task the President Jonathan brought together a select team of men and women who have distinguished themselves in both the public and private sectors and have also continued positively to the growth and development of Nigeria. The committee is led by veteran soldier Gen. TY Danjuma and assisted by Mr. Fola Adeola, other members of the committee are Alh. Mohammed Indimi, Alh. Abdulsamad I Rabiu, Alh. Sani Dauda, Mr. Cosmas Maduka, Mr Jim Ovia, Mr Wale Tinubu and Alh. Sani Sidi Mohammed. The committee also has representations from political parties, religious bodies, international organizations and youth and CSOs. As part of the terms of reference giving to the committee by President Jonathan, they are to identify sources and ways of raising sustainable funding to support victims of terror activities, to develop appropriate strategies for the fund raising and to also ascertain the persons, communities, facilities and economic assets affected by terror activities and to support the victims as appropriate.
There is a certain feeling of hopelessness in the face of needless deaths. The last few months has witnessed some of the worse onslaught on non-combatants in the ongoing counter-insurgency

For instance, education is one of the sectors worse hit by the insurgency. The North East currently has one of the worse school enrolment figures in Nigeria, approximately 500,000 children are out of school. To put it in a greater perspective 1 in 3 primary school children are not attending school at the moment; while 1 in 4 junior secondary school children are out of school too. In Borno State alone 250, 000 are out of school at the moment.
Another sector taking a beating is healthcare with 24,683 people suffering from cholera aside the herculean task of trying to treat injured victims.

From more than 250,000 internal displaced people in March the number of people now living fractured lives Nigeria’s North East has jumped to 649, 693 according OCHR by the end of June, with more than a hundred thousand IDPs, in Cameroon and Niger Republic.

Food supply in Nigeria is currently at risk. For centuries, the lake Chad basin has been a source of food and fisheries in Nigeria, however the insurgency has ensured that there is agriculture and aquaculture activities has been decreasing in the last few years. At the moment 19,000 tilling about 5000 hectares of farmland are out of livelihood having been displaced.
However, the biggest tragedy remains the death of more than 10,000 people since the insurgency began in 2009; with the highest escalation of violence since this year.

Though the Nigerian Army and security agencies have continued to sacrifice time and men to counter the insurgency on a daily basis.

So also state governments under emergency rule continue to do their best, it has become imperative, that they alone cannot bear the burden of catering to the millions of displaced persons across the region. Faith based organisations like CAN and FOMWAN have also continued to reach out to the displaced population while organisations and projects like the Adamawa Peace Council, Giftbasket-NG the 1414 organisation have all continued to work in an assiduous manner to ensure that the IDPs are catered for.

In the final analysis, there is reassurance in the President’s speech that this regime of violence is reaching its turning point “Let me reiterate clearly that evil will never prevail over good. The blood that is being wasted everyday by those who take advantage of the vulnerability of the people to spread extremist doctrines and recruit them for murderous errands are enemies of humanity. We will never waste any effort in bringing the individuals responsible for crimes against humanity to justice”

This was matched by pledges of more than 40 Billion Naira raised on the 31st of July 2014 at Banquet Hall of Aso Rock Villa, a good start in rewriting this story of despair and turning into a narrative of hope.

 

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