FG will prioritise welfare of Boko Haram victims – Osinbajo

Acting president Yemi Osinbajo shakes hands with Borno State governor Kashim Shettima. Shettima led a delegation of Borno elders on a thank-you visit to the presidential villa on Monday, May 8, 2017. PHOTO: TWITTER/YEMI OSINBAJO

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has pledged the commitment of the Federal government to prioritise the welfare packages for the Chibok victims of Boko Haram insurgents and the humanitarian crisis in the North East generally.

“When you speak of the budget of Presidential Initiative on the North-East (PINE) and Borno state and the other initiatives in the Northeast, I think we have to take a second look on all of these issues,” Osinbajo said on Monday.

According to him, the current allocation for humanitarian services in the region was grossly inadequate to cater to the needs of the people he noted have been traumatised by the activities of the insurgents.

Osinbajo said, “the truth is that when you look at the recovery plan, what we are providing now is not even up to ten percent. The cost of it is just enormous and I believe that we must just take a realistic look at it and possibly look at the areas we can actually address in the short term.”

“We will take some time out to outline what is the priority and determine what it will cost us. We must do everything that it takes to make sure that we hold ourselves to account for these children. That in my view is the whole essence of leadership”, he said.

Recall that the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, chief of staff to the President, Abba Kyari and other government officials last Friday met at the presidential villa, Abuja, to fashion ways to combat the prevailing humanitarian crisis in the Northeast.

The military Chiefs were directed to come up with urgent measures that would proffer lasting solution to the crisis in the area.

Meanwhile, Osinbajo who spoke when he received Borno elders led by the State Governor, Kashim Shettima on a thank-you visit for the safe return of the 82 Chibok girls at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last night said that it was incumbent on the present Nigerian leaders to frontally address the challenges besetting the nation.

‎”There is no one who has been to Borno, when we went it wasn’t even as bad as this, now I’m told that things are even much worse. I think it is the time we really sit and look at what it is that we need to do. I think we must do everything that we hold ourselves to account for the lives of our children and the vulnerable people of Borno state. In my view, this is the whole essence of leadership.”

Commending the Swiss government’s intervention and other international bodies who assisted in the swap negotiations resulting in the safe return of the distraught girls, Osinbajo also agreed that President Muhammadu
Buhari’s integrity and transparency were remarkable in the international circle, a virtue he said attracted foreign assistance.

He said: “We thank God for bringing back our girls from captivity. For anyone who is a parent, it is just a very traumatic thing. We deserve to be excited that this is happening and we pray that the others will come back. “What has happened is largely on the account of the international community. They believed in the integrity of the president. So many have sacrificed so much in the course of this insurgency.

“We don’t know how much it will cost us to restore what was lost. It is a challenge before us. I believe that we cannot wait for another generation of leaders to do it for us. We must resolve to face our challenges.

In his remarks, Governor Shettima expressed the delegation’s gratitude to the federal government for facilitating the safe return of the 82 girls.

“We are here principally to thank Mr President, you and all senior aides to Mr President, DSS DG, the Army for bringing back our girls.”President Buhari has the country at heart. We must as Nigerians thank God for Mr.
President.

“There is no way international actors will continue to facilitate the negotiations if not for the integrity of the
president.”Buhari succeeded in mobilising the world for Nigeria. In no distant time, the insurgency will be a thing of the past,” he said.

Also speaking, Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari thanked the President for the effort which he said had helped to liberate the area from the insurgency.”The efforts to bring 82
girls back to their parents are commendable,” he said.

Senator Ali Ndume who also solicited the assistance of the government to help, said: “The humanitarian crisis is beyond anybody’s imagination. Every day, one child dies because of hunger. Children are out of school. We have millions of displaced persons. The whole Borno State is not up to the National Assembly budget. The feeding of the children is not something Borno State government can carry.”

Also, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Al-Hassan said that the rescued girls were in stable condition.”Thanks for having confidence in our ministry to leave the girls in our care. The girls are in good shape. We are getting the place they will stay ready. They are all happy,” she said.



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