News Column

I'll Lead Nigeria to Defeat Boko Haram - Jonathan

August 4, 2014

George Agba and Chika Otuchikere

President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that he was overwhelmed by the manner Nigerians responded to his appeal to contribute to the Boko Haram Victims' Support Fund, saying the federal government's initial target of N50billion had been exceeded.

He said a total sum of N58.790billion was realised for the Support Fund at a fund-raising dinner held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa on Thursday night.

Jonathan also vowed that he would personally provide the required leadership to Nigerians to defeat insurgency in the country.

The highest donors included the federal government (N20 billion), key players in the oil sector (N17 billion), the banking sector operatives (N15 billion), T.Y. Danjuma (N1.6billion), and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Jim Ovia, Wale Tinubu, Mike Adenuga, N1billion each. All states of the federation and the FCT gave N3.7billion; Arthur Eze and Mohammed Indimi, N800million each; Mrs Folorunsho Alakijia, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, Abdul Samad Rabiu, N500million each.

Mr Tony Elumelu, CON, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and chairman of Heirs Holdings, committed N2.5billion towards revitalizing distressed Nigerian communities affected by terror activities.

According to Jonathan, this is a clear indication that Nigerians are in support of the federal government's counter-terrorism strategies, even as he expressed immense appreciation over what he described as the kindness of all persons who responded enthusiastically to his appeal for collective action by contributing generously to the fund.

In a statement issued by his special adviser on media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, the president said he was overwhelmed by the expression of support, cooperation and solidarity by Nigerians and friends of Nigeria from all walks of life. He added that it showed that the public was genuinely concerned about the threat of terrorism "to our common humanity and stands ready to support worthy causes and pro-people policies".

The president also commended the chairman of the Terror Victims' Support Foundation, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), and members of the Foundation for accepting to serve the nation in this regard.

Abati said, "He is confident and convinced that the Foundation will make judicious and transparent use of the funds in order to ameliorate the negative impact of terrorism in the affected areas."

During the fundraising on July 31, the highest donation was N10 billion and the lowest individual contribution was N5, 000.

At the fundraising dinner, Elumelu thanked the president for taking the initiative to bring the public and private sectors together to address the problem.

Of the N2.5 billion that was committed by Elumelu, N1billion was immediately contributed to the Victims' Relief Fund, while the additional N1.5 billion will go towards establishing and endowing a Nigeria Opportunity and Empowerment Fund over the next four years.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which noted it will manage the endowment fund to global and professional standards, said the funds will be used to make investments and grants that create opportunities and empower the people in communities around Nigeria that have been ravaged by conflict or where fundamental issues of inclusion have to be addressed such as in the Niger Delta region.

Jonathan vowed that he would provide the required leadership to end insurgency in Nigeria, even as he said he never imagined that Nigerians could make themselves available to be used as suicide bombers.

Noting that the setting up of the support fund was not an admission that terrorism had come to stay in the country, he said: "The fact that we are setting up a victims' support fund does not mean we have accepted that terrorism is here to stay. No! Never! Rather, this is just one of the short-term measures in our overall strategy against the enemies of peace and progress."

The president stated vehemently that, rather than destroy the spirit and essence of the nation, the terrorists have succeeded in uniting and making Nigerians see that they are a common threat to all. "By bombing mosques and churches, they have shown to us that they are enemies to all. By killing Muslims and Christians, they have demonstrated to every Nigerian that their evil agenda does not discriminate. Unintentionally, they are motivating millions of Nigerians to see them as common enemies whose only purpose is to steal, to kill and to destroy."

Gen. Danjuma said the fund had been established as a full-fledged company, adding that naira and foreign currency accounts had been set up to receive donations from around the world.

He commended Jonathan for his wisdom in setting up the fund and his policy of non-interference in its operation, saying that the committee would jealously guard its independence.

"All too often, the victims of terror are soon forgotten. The majority are the soft targets the terrorists prefer but unable to fend for themselves. The funds being collected are not for combating terror or fighting terrorist organizations but for supporting victims of terrorist attacks," the former defence minister said.

Terrorism will have my full attention - IGP Abba

Newly appointed acting inspector-general of police Suleiman Abba yesterday promised that he would put all his energy into the fight to rid the country of insurgents.

Abba spoke during the official handing over of the baton of leadership from the outgoing IGP Mohammed Abubakar, vowing to address the attitude problem associated with policemen.

"The recent upsurge in security challenges will have my full attention. I am committed to address these issues and reaffirm the high standards of performance for which the Nigeria Police is nationally and internationally acclaimed," he said.

The new IGP who hailed his immediate predecessor for executing the reform agenda of the incumbent president, however, noted that the reform did not reform the attitude of the officers and men: "It is only the reforms initiated by the Yar'Adua- Jonathan regime that have seen the light of day. All other reforms - and I beg to be proven wrong - I have gone through a lot of researches on reforms in the Nigeria Police Force as an examiner in NIPSS; we have almost become disinterested in the reforms. We have even become lost at what the government intends to do.

"This is the only reform where we see funds dedicated for the implementation of the reform. One aspect is completely missing. That is the aspect of attitudinal change. It will be my focus. You can make a reform without reforming the person you are reforming. And so the focus of my leadership shall be attitudinal change.

"We'll make sure that officers conform to ethical values and standards. We'll have an ethical code of conduct which will regulate our actions. Senior police officers are to be held accountable for their actions and inactions, by means of performance contracts and indicators, with clear deliverables which will be closely monitored."

The new IGP who hails from Gwaram local government area of Jigawa State holds degrees in History and Law and has attended several management and security courses within and outside Nigeria. He is an alumnus of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos.

Until his appointment, Abba was the assistant inspector-general of police in charge of Zone 7 comprising the FCT, Kaduna and Niger police commands.

Abba enlisted into the Force as a cadet assistant superintendent of police in December 1984. He was commissioner of police, Rivers State, 2009 - 2012; commissioner of police in Lagos State during the 2011 general elections; and deputy force secretary twice both as commissioner of police and as a deputy commissioner of police.

The IGP was deputy commissioner of police, Kano State Command, 2007 - 2008; and deputy commissioner of police, Kebbi, 2006 - 2007. He was also the aide-de-camp (ADC) to the head of state (Office of the First Lady), 1995 - 1998; and the commanding officer of both 24 PMF (Presidential Escort) and 21 PMF Mobile Police Squadron, Abuja.

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Source: AllAfrica

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