Day VSF, Borno government remember families of 61 District Heads killed by Boko Haram

VSF gives families relief support worth N61 million, as Zulum adds N12.2 million

Victims Support Fund (VSF), a private sector-driven federal government charity organisation had on Thursday provided relief item and economic support to the families of 61 District Heads of Borno Emirate Council who were killed by Boko Haram years ago.

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, too had added the sum of N12.2million to the  “need-based intervention of the VSF, to families of 61 district heads./

The VSF, a public and private funded humanitarian body set up by the Presidency during the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2014 is headed by elder statesman and Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma.

VSF was recently placed under the scrutiny of financial misappropriation as its pioneer Executive Director, Professor Sunday Ohoche, now suspended faces probe.

On Thursday at a well-attended event held at the Shehu of Borno’s palace, officials of the VSF and Borno government hinted that they held “meetings with all the families to identify their livelihood needs”.

After that VSF  made available, variety of economic, social and educational empowerment items estimated at N61m, from which, each family got materials worth a million Naira.  
Speaking at the event, as special guest of honour, Governor Zulum directed the release of N200,000 to each of the 61 families, making up N12.2m as the State Government’s contribution. 

Families of slain Diatrict Heads

Mr Zulum said the assistance was because “most of the district heads were killed by insurgents because of their role in intelligence gathering through the mobilization of community members to provide information to security agencies.”

The Governor thanked the slain district heads for their sacrifices to the people of Borno. 

New Executive Director of VSF, Professor Nana Tanko, had earlier  explained that “insurgents were in the habit of targeting traditional rulers such as the 61 district heads, in order to break resilience of communities given the fact that most residents run to palaces for help in moments of crisis.”

She said further that “traditional rulers killed by insurgents had served their country and hence their families needed to be supported through an intervention covering education of their children, as well as equipping them with economic tools such machines and agricultural items that will enable them to sustain themselves.”

Professor Tanko explained that “all interventions were based on the needs tabled by each of the 61 benefiting families.”

Some of the items distributed to the families

She further clarified that the request for such interventions was made by the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Garbai Ibn Al-Amin Elkanemi.

Elated Shehu of Borno thanked Governor, Zulum and the VSF “for coming to the aid of families of the slain traditional rulers.”

The Shehu took time to read out the entire list of all the district heads killed by the insurgents as well as areas of their jurisdiction.

At the beginning of the event, the Borno state Commissioner for Local Governments and Emirate Affairs, Sugun Mai-Mele detailed the significant roles of the traditional rulers “in many developmental issues, particularly security at the community levels”.

The event’s peak was the ceremonial presentation of economic empowerment packages provided by the VSF, to some of the 61 families, by Governor Zulum.

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