The Terror Victims Support Fund and the Magnanimity of Nigerian ‘Well-to-Dos’ By Nkannebe Raymond
You can scorn Nigerians for everything you may, you may put them in your bad books for Corruption, the obsession to cut corners, sleaze, Crude-Oil theft and all sort of wrongs you can come up with, but when it comes to Charity, expression of empathy in the misfortune of a fellow countryman, you are met with the ideal and Signature Nigerian that is the signpost of love and concern for the travails of the next man troubled. Blab all you can, you cannot take away that spirit from the average Nigerian. It runs in our DNA.
Such show of love, concern and empathy in the misfortune of millions of Nigerians who have in one way or another suffered from the wickedness of Terror unleashed by the Boko Haram sect and the Murderous Fulani Herdsmen, reached another height last week Thursday at the Banquet hall of the State House in Abuja. What occasion was it? It was the Fund Raising Dinner organised by Mr. President for the Victims of Terror apparently to consolidate on the efforts of government in Fighting insurgency and in a bid to placate the anger, to a considerable extent, of the family and friends of Terror Victims who have either lost their loved ones to the campaign of bloodletting orchestrated by the sect or are hospitalised in one hospital or the other nursing various degrees of injuries or who have been forced to flee their villages and have taken refuge in concentration camps and other sundry negative effects of terrorism in the land.
Needless to say, it was another step in the right direction. Not only was it necessary, it was also timely at a time when refugees’ statistics as a result of terrorism have crescended to an overwhelming acme. So sitting in the company of my colleagues that very wet Thursday night in Maiduguri, the fund raising dinner became a perfect substitute of not going to class to study since the heavens won’t stop sending down the rains.
In an event chaired by the indefatigable Rtd. Gen Theophilus Danjuma and also which had several notable class of Nigerians in attendance, from the clergy to the traditional rulers. From the members of the National Assembly to the Captains of Industries. From technocrats to the Civil Society Organisations and down to many other distinguished ladies and gentlemen. One was almost certain that judging from the ‘climatic conditions’ in the Banquet Hall, the ‘Naira Rain’ was bound to come. It did.
The uncommon display of humility exhibited by Mr. President by offering to wield the microphone throughout the duration of the fund-raiser, was unprecedented and next to none. After what appeared to be one of his best speeches in his sojourn into politics as has been confirmed by Pundits, it was clear that Mr. President was indeed ready and interested in the course of bringing succour to victims of insurgency. His demeanour that night was that of a leader who was not oblivious of the plight of the people he swore on oath to protect few years ago and who were determined to put a final end to their sufferings, no matter the cost.
By organising such an event and even mounting the rostrum for a better part of the day to lead the fund-raising, he made a bold statement to the effect that the travails of the victims of terror is not lost on his administration and hence why the initiative was birthed. It was a day, at least by my standard; Mr. President scored a hat-trick and won back the admiration and endorsement by millions of Nigerians who by nature, are emotional beings.
But no matter how one is moved by Mr. President’s humility, you cannot take away the munificence and benevolence of several Nigerians and corporations who out of the bounty of their hearts literally wiped the tears of the millions of Terror Victims by donating magnanimously to the fund. Sequel to the foregoing, special thanks must go to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of Dangote Group who has never failed to answer the call of Humanity whenever he is called upon. That night, he sustained the precedent. The same goes for Mr. Tony Elumelu, Dr. Jim Ovia, Gen. T.Y Danjuma, Mrs. Alakija, the Banking sub-sector led by Mr. Godwin Emefiele, The Nigerian Oil Marketers led by the Honorable minister of Petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Wale Adenuga, Members of the National Assembly, the FG and a host of other spirited Nigerians and corporations who donated that night but which space constraints would not allow me to reproduce here who unanimously by their donations to the fund, made a bold statement to the victims of terror and to the enemies of Nigeria that irrespective of their plight, Nigerians have not forsaken them in this most perilous time of theirs. That Nigerians are aware of their cruel misfortune and also interested and willing to answer any call geared towards ameliorating their hardships. May God continue to enlarge their coast and from wherever they have taken out from, it is my considered petition unto the heavens, that they be replenished in higher folds.
Having said that, what remains, is how the almost sixty billion Naira realised that night would be spent so that the objectives of its generation will not be defeated. There is no gainsaying that the main task does not lie in the generation of funds, but instead in the effective utilisation of same to score the goals that was the intention of the initiative ab initio.
I would advise that the Terror Victims Committee set up by the president and chaired by Gen. T.Y Danjuma, do its work thoroughly by putting in place a mechanism that would work to arrive at an accurate data of people in the larger population, who have been affected in one way or another from terror since the inception of the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen menace in the country. Not only that, efforts should also be made to ascertain the degree or extent of loss suffered, in order to determine the relief due when the funds generated are to be disbursed to the affected victims.
A considerable per centage of the fund should be earmarked for the FG’s Safe-School initiative aimed at protecting schools from being prone to terror attacks and to prevent the re-occurence of the mistake of Govt. Secondary School, Chibok. Skill acquisition centres should be set up in the state capital of states who are more affected by the activities of terror so that the youths and widows of men who have lost their lives to the nefarious activities of the sect, would not become potential tools in the hands of the sect and also acquire relevant skills with which they can continue to meet their individual and family needs respectively.
Beyond the ululation of the generation of funds for Terror Victims, government must be reminded that the struggle does not end in the throwing of Naira to victims. The greater responsibility should be the prevention of terror in all ramifications as whatever succour financial intervention brings pales into insignificance when juxtaposed with the Loss sought to be placated with whatever wads of the Naira.
While government’s effort in convening the Fund-Raiser is undoubtedly commendable, emphasis should still lay on proactive measures to stamp out terrorism and nt the contrary. The huge financial approach that has been taken by the FG to combat the insurgency in recent times, depicts the lack of a thorough strategy to end the scourge of the Islamic Fundamentalists. Money should not be seen as the only weapon against the menace, but rather a tool aimed at complementing other critical militaristic, intelligence, political and social efforts.
That we cannot pay or finance out way out of the insurgency cannot be overstated for it were, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Cheques that run into several millions-the type received more than once by Mr. President last thursday, does not solve the root cause of insurgency. It is hoped that this is not oblivious to the government.
Finally, I’ll once again, use this platform to thank many Nigerians who out of the magnanimity of their hearts and altruistic nature, and not the buoyancy of their bank accounts, gave back to society that thursday night. Posterity was there that night, and even if men forget as they are wont to, she will not forget and history is well informed. To the victims of terror, that Nigerians got your interest at heart cannot be gainsaid and the fight against insurgency is one that must be won. God bless Nigeria. ONU’KWUBE!
The writer tweets: @RayNkah/Raymondnkannebe@gmail.com
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