By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja. – The Victims Support Fund (VSF), an NGO, says plans are underway to collaborate with religious leaders and Tony Blair Institute for Peace, to address religious dimension of the insurgency in the North-east.
VSF Executive Director, Prof. Sunday Ochoche disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, VSF has continued to work to restore hope to victims of insurgency through promotion of education for children and the provision of learning materials and introduction of foster care programmes for orphaned children.
“It also provides psycho-social support for women and children, economic empowerment for women, strengthening health systems to cater for the medical needs of victims, reconstruction of public buildings and peace building advocacy,’’ he said.
He said that 3,000 households recently received agricultural inputs across the three most affected states of Borno Adamawa and Yobe.
He also said that the VSF agro-based intervention provided agricultural inputs which include water pumps, improved varieties of seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and sprayers for dry season farming.
“The dry-season farming programme will improve household nutrition and also engender financial independence for victims who have returned to their communities,’’ Ochoche said.
Ochoche said that it was imperative to work with relevant stakeholders to address the critical issues of the insurgency.
“One of the things we are doing in peace building is working closely with the Tony Blair Institute in the UK, to address the component of the religious dimension of the insurgency in the North-East.
“This is the extent to which we can work with traditional and religious leaders, to help address the critical issues of the insurgency.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is a non-profit organisation set up by former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair to help make globalisation work for many people.
The executive director also said that VSF was in the process of embarking on another major research project for Nigeria, focusing more on the North-central and North-western.
“We also realise that the North-Central and the North-Western have become major zones of conflict and crises ranging from kidnapping to the entire community crisis and so on.
“There is need to respond immediately but we also believe that to address most of the long term factors and its root causes requires much more work, schedule and much more analysis than we have at the moment.