Victims Support Fund (VSF), a foundation to assist those affected by Boko Haram insurgency, yesterday disclosed that it has spent about N12 billion on rehabilitation in the North East zone.
Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Victims of Terrorism Support, Tijani Tumsah, revealed this yesterday when he led its members to The Guardian on a courtesy visit.He called for more support to enable millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return homes.
Tumsah, who represented the body's chairmen, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, explained: "The presidential victim support fund have been in existence since 2014, and we have done quite a bit of intervention in the North East. We felt it is necessary to have strategic partnerships with key organisation as The Guardian in terms of knowing what we've been doing and our vision and the way forward and how we see things turning out in the region."
According to him, as the military is gaining ground, "we are able to settle people and they are beginning to return to their ancestral land, making the number of IDPs to have reduced from 2.4 million to around 1.7 million."He said the funds were being used to support the returnees livelihood by way of rebuilding infrastructure that were destroyed by the insurgents, and engaging them with empowerment tools for a return to their farms.
Tumsah disclosed that about 16, 000 thousand farmers have been provided with improve seedling, fertiliser and farm equipment. "What we have on ground is a plan to continue with the establishment of education and making sure that children among the returnees return to the classroom.
Schooling and education have been the bone of contention between the insurgents and the larger society.
"About 600 teachers lost their lives over the insurgency period and 1,200 schools were destroyed. We are reconstructing these schools, and once you rebuild, you have to provide training for the teachers and encourage the students to come back to class," he said.He explained that about 150,000 students have been enrolled, even as school bags, sandals, books and teaching aids have been procured for them to resume school, a move, he said would be sustained for some years.
The chairman explained that at inception, about N56 billion was pledged, out of which N25 million was realised, adding that the body has been trying to get the balance from those who made the commitments. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji added that the body is working with local non-governmental organisations to ensure that the funds are well monitored.