Representatives of the Bomb Victims Association of Nigeria Visit VSF
Representatives of Bomb Blast Victims Association comprising of the Chairman Mr. Kayode Olatunji and the secretary Musa Baba Audu visited the Executive Director (Dr. Ochoche) of The Nigeria Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism (VSF). They wanted to ascertain the true state of financials and what has been done to aid the victims of bomb blast. Some of their demands were: some form of compensation, membership of the VSF committee and support for the official launch of the association coming up in September.
The Executive Director in his response appreciated them for their visit. He informed them that the sum of N54 billion was pledged out of which N24 billion had been redeemed. The sum of 2 billion was disbursed to the safe schools initiative – which was set up by the office of the National Security Advisor to provide a secure environment for school children – and about 250 million spent on distribution of relief materials to over 10,000 households in Abuja, Gombe, Adamawa and Borno. Dr. Ochoche further explained that VSF is a private sector-led organisation and the bulk of the fund came from the private sector as such, integrity and accountability is mandatory.
He informed BVAN that VSF is in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with seven hospitals in the first instance for financial support for the procurement of medication and medical consumables. This is exclusively for the upgrading of hospital facilities and free treatment for victims of Boko Haram armed attacks including those of bomb blasts. He invited the association to partner with VSF to help in ensuring the hospitals administer the funds judiciously and transparently. The hospitals are:
- University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Borno State
- Specialist Hospital Maiduguri, Borno State
- Specialist Hospital Damaturu, Yobe State
- Federal Medical Centre Gombe, Gombe State
- Specialist Hospital Gombe, Gombe State
- Federal Medical Centre Yola, Adamawa State
- Specialist Hospital Yola, Adamawa State
He noted that not one single organisation can cater for all the needs of all the victims because of the myriad problems and constant increase in the number of victims. This has informed VSFs decision to focus on women and children; issues of empowerment, means of livelihood, health, education and psychosocial support. The Foundation intends to start small, be thorough and consistent as there is no room for trial and error.
On the issue of membership of the committee, Dr. Ochoche said that it was not within his purview as the Committee was set up by the President and only the President had the power to include any individual or group.