The Victims Support Fund (VSF) in collaboration with the Yobe state government has donated dry season farming implements to over 1, 000 households in Yunusari local government area, as part of their support to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who just returned home.
The event, which took place at Mazagum community, marked the launch of this year's dry season farming intervention in the north-east for the returned victims of the insurgency.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Mustapha Gajerima, speaking on the occasion, remarked, "The project was launched at the right time and will complement the efforts of the state government in restoring the means of livelihood of the people affected by the insurgency."
In a keynote address, the chairman of the VSF, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (rtd.), represented by the foundation's spokesman, Alkasim Abdulkadir, said the project was aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the people affected by the insurgency.
"The foundation is targeting 3,000 households for this project in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa that were worst hit by the insurgency, to be self-reliant," he said.
In his remarks, the VSF Programme Director, Nana Tanko, said 200 households from five communities of Mazagum, Bultuwa, Dekwa, Degeltura and Mairari, each benefitted from the gesture, noting that items donated included mini-tractors, sprayers, water pump and watering horse, liquid fertilisers, and pesticides.
Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and American University of Nigeria (AUN) have also distributed resettlement packs to 190 graduates of its skill acquisition programme in Bama and Ngala Local Government areas of Borno State.
Presenting the packs to the beneficiaries in Bama, the Project Manager, Abubakar Mu'azu, said 110 persons were trained in Bama and 80 others at Ngala.
According to him, the beneficiaries were provided with starter packs at the end of the eight-week exercise to enable them set up businesses.
He said the beneficiaries were exposed to various founder vocations under the Livelihood Support Scheme initiated by the UN agency.
Mu'azu listed the vocations to include tailoring, carpentry, welding, irons bending, electrician, ICT appreciation, cosmetology and soap processing, as well as beads, cap, shoe and bag making.
The manager explained that the beneficiaries were also trained on Financial Literacy and Business Development to enable them to manage their businesses and ensure sustainability of the programme.
"AUN is the implementing partner of the programme," he said. "We are providing skill acquisition training to Persons of Concern (PoCs) in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
"We also link the beneficiaries with micro finance institutions to enable them to access soft loans in order to enhance their businesses," he said.
Also, Francis Garriba, UNCHR's Senior External Relations Assistant, said the programme was designed to build resilience and provide means of livelihoods to persons displaced by the insurgency in the northeast. Mr Garriba called on the beneficiaries to ensure effective utilisation of the items given to them and engage in productive activities.
In the same vein, the Presidential Committee on the North-east Initiative (PCNI) and the Borno State Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP) team have distributed non-food items to nearly two thousand households across ten village units in Tungushe town of Konduga local government.
Launching the distribution, the Technical Coordinator and Project Manager Baba Zanna Abdulkarim, said the programme was flagged off in Ngwom two months ago and called for synergy and coordination among national and international partners to bridge the gaps in distribution of food and non-food items to persons affected by the insurgency.
He said each of the 1,743 households across ten communities would receive one family size mattress, plastic water container, bowl, mat, blanket, hygiene package, wrapper, mosquito net, women and men clothing materials.
He said that all the beneficiaries were carefully selected by the community oversight committee and a local non-governmental organisation with the active participation of their community leaders.
The MCRP Project Manager said he was catering to nearly 2, 000 returnees out of the over 10,000 of the worst hit returnees in different communities and appealed to other non-governmental organisations to scale up their activities where necessary to reduce the burden.
The proper coordination of project activities among partners, he said, was crucial to avert duplication in giving support materials to beneficiaries at the expense of others.
He also commended Governor Kashim Shettima for his determination to ensure that all returnees are adequately catered for and appealed to the beneficiaries to use the items for the purpose intended.
He explained that a grievance redressing mechanism had been put in place to look into all issues that may arise as a result of their return for peaceful coexistence stressing that telephone lines are available to channel any complaints and assured of a swift response to any such complaint.
Abdulkarim thanked the community leaders for their support and enjoined them to remain with their subjects in peace and unity.
With Agency Report