CAN hails Jonathan for establishing insurgency victim fund

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Abuja – The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has commended the constitution of a special fund for victims of insurgency in parts of the north.

The commendation is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.

Also Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the “Victim Support Fund’’ recently announced by President Goodluck Jonathan would complement “Safe School Initiative Programme’’ to ensure safety of students in schools

The CAN president described the decision to set up a fund for the insurgency victims as “courageous and bold.

He said “CAN received the news of the institution of a special fund to carter for the needs of victims of insurgency in parts of the country with gratitude.’’

He said the move was a demonstration of the present administration’s commitment to the welfare of all Nigerians, irrespective of their socio-political background.

“On behalf of the association and the entire Christian community in Nigeria, I want to specially thank Mr President for taking such a bold and courageous step to care for the victims of insurgency in the northern part of the country.

“The action is a further demonstration that President Goodluck Jonathan is indeed the father of the nation and a father to all Nigerians, irrespective of the background of the victims of the crisis.

“The decision is also a demonstration of the present administration’s response to the plight of the people.’’

Oritsejafor said the association had been on the forefront for palliatives to ameliorate the hardships caused by the insurgency in parts of the north.

He expressed optimism that the fund would address issues associated with the welfare of victims of the crisis.

“For long, it has been the conviction of CAN that victims of the senseless killings and wanton destruction of property should be given some `life line’ in whatever name it could be called and we are glad that the President heard our cry and responded appropriately.

“I believe that the fund will address a wide range of issues facing persons displaced by the crisis, as well as provide the basis for a more comprehensive programme of rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims at the end of the insurgency.’’

He also expressed the hope that funds realised from the various donations and contributions would be judiciously used for the good of those affected in the crisis.

The CAN president hailed the quality of persons nominated to serve on the special fund and wished the members well in their task of raising and disbursing the fund to victims of the insurgency.

He appealed to persons who would be directly and indirectly involved in the programme to have the fear of God in all that they would be doing.

He added that “I honestly believe that this initiative will give hope to our people and instill in them a sense of belonging while reducing the psychological and physical impact of the burden created as a result of the losses incurred in the crisis.

“I am also optimistic that the creation of this fund will ameliorate the sufferings of the victims of the insurgency,’’ he added.

He assured members of the fund of CAN’s support in prayers and otherwise, for the success of its assignment.

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the “Victim Support Fund’’ recently announced by President Goodluck Jonathan would complement “Safe School Initiative Programme’’ to ensure safety of students in schools.

The minister made the disclosure at the inaugural meeting of the Safe Initiative programme Committee on Thursday in Abuja.

She said that the Initiative, which was announced by the business community at the World Economic Forum on Africa, had 20 million dollars set aside for its take-off.

She added that the business community in Nigeria and the Federal Government had given 10 million dollars each to support the programme.

She noted that the international community had also shown strong interest to support the project.

“There are other components for a comprehensive approach to the programme and the President has made some other effort, the first one was that yesterday the Victim Support Fund was launched.

“The Fund will complement the Safe Schools Initiative because parents, victims and other people who suffered will now have a place to go in terms of support for them.

“There is also the Presidential Initiative on the North East which will ensure that emergency relief and other emergency support to people who are affected are also implemented.’’

The minister explained that a component of reconstruction of damaged infrastructure under the Presidential Initiative on the North East would also work with the Safe School Initiative.

According to her, the whole package is planned to complement each other to ensure that success is achieved.

“This is the comprehensive picture that the President wanted to paint for these attempts to handle the difficult situation we have in the north eastern part of the country,’’ she added.

She said all the initiatives were being carried out with the consent of the states involved.

She added that in implementing the Initiative, the states and local governmentcommunities, as well as international partners and the Federal Government would work together.

Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, representing the governors of Adamawa and Yobe and the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, were present at the meeting

Others include business mogul Aliko Dangote, the Publisher of Thisday newspapers Nduka Obiagbena, NEMA Director-General, Muhammed Sani-Sidi.

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