By Adelola Amihere
The Executive Director, Victim Support Fund ,VSF, Sunday Ochoche, has said that efforts at rebuilding the ravaged northeast through the Victim support Fund has yielded positive results with major achievements in infrastructure, agriculture and women development.
It will be recalled that in 2013, Former President Goodluck Jonathan, set up the Victim Support Fund (VSF) to rehabilitate, reconstruct and to resettle the victims of the Boko Haram carnage with Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) as its Chairman.
Ochoche who disclosed this in an interview recently however lamented that the major challenge was security explaining that a little relapse in that security situation becomes a major set back to the reconstruction efforts and of course, the needs are enormous and the resources are very limited.
According to him, “when you have for example, an emir whose palace was destroyed and barely escaped and now the palace is reconstructed and he just can’t go back because he hasn’t still recovered from trauma he went through. That is even at the level of the emir. Now, think of what other regular people have gone through.
“The challenge of the recovery, the rehabilitation and the reconstruction of the human being, remain a major crisis in the North-east. And you know, these are issues really that we have to work hard to address. I think, reconstructing the physical infrastructure is probably the easiest part but, addressing the perception of the insecurity of the individual will take a while”.
Highlighting the successes achieved by the fund , the Executive Director stated that “We have constructed the rehabilitation center in Bulukutu, in Maiduguri, we have just commissioned it. It will be a rehabilitation center for a number of the victims of Boko Haram insurgency including some of the fighters that have been rehabilitated. That is where they would normally be brought to learn trade, to do schooling and we have spent quite some money reconstructing and rehabilitating the entire place so that there could be better facilities and more comfortable environment for these people going to be rehabilitated.
“We have also this year already, commissioned our project in Benue State, especially in Agatu, where we commissioned about eight schools and two clinics. We have commissioned those and they are already being put to use. This year too, we commissioned the biggest project, VSF has ever done. That was the commissioning of the Government Comprehensive School in Takum, Taraba State. It is, the best school in Taraba state as in today. Everything was constructed from the scratch by VSF.”
Speaking on the fund intervention in the area of agriculture, Ochoche said, “We have worked in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba States. Those have been the key states where we have provided our agricultural support. And agricultural support comes in a different phase. We have support to the rainfall agriculture, dry season agriculture and we have support to animal breeding. So, each of these, for the rainfall and dry season agriculture, we provide the seed, chemical and fertiliser input that the farmers require and we also provide tractors for the farmers. For the dry season farming, we also provide the pumping machines to the farmers.
On women empowerment, Ochoche explained that the agricultural programme “is an intergral part of our economic empowerment programme. The other part of it is the women economic empowerment programme where very early in our intervention, we recognised that there are so many women who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency who have now become head of households and have to provide for their children and household in a cultural environment whereby previously these were done likely by men.”