Dr Sunday Ocheche, Executive Director, Victims Support Fund (VSF), has said that encouraging peaceful reconciliation among the victims of insurgency was key to sustainable peace in the North-East.
He made this assertion at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Ocheche, a peaceful resolution would heal the pains of victims towards avoiding a reoccurrence of the crisis.One critical area which we are looking at is the area of reconciliation, people have suffered considerably, and they have lost loved ones.
“Many of them believe that so and so religion, group, community is responsible for their situation.
“There are a lot of these problems that we will need to address about reconciliation, to get people to work better together, to relate better.
“A lot of emotional healing, a lot of communal healing to take place for people to be able to get together again.
“Victims Support Fund is working closely with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolutions in this area.
“It is one of the things that later in the year we would be embarking upon to begin to deal with the communal healing and reconciliation component of this element.
“It is a very important area that we need to look at,Ocheche said that the VSF has a vision of transforming the victims of terrorism for a better life, saying that this can be achieved through championing programmes on peaceful reconciliation.
The executive director said that it would also address some root causes of the insurgency given the history of ethno-religious crises in some parts of the country.
He said that achieving a safer and prosperous North-East is also important to empower the indigenes as the Boko Haram took advantage of the poverty to indoctrinate innocent citizens.
Ocheche explained that it is on that note that the Fund is engaging in various empowerment programmes to reduce the vulnerability of the people to the Boko Haram insurgents.
“We are trying to strengthen the economy, strengthen education, strengthen protection of the children and lots more because all these will go a long way in preventing future crises.
“If you talk to Gov. Shettima of Borno State and you ask him what is the causes of Boko Haram he will say education, if you ask what must be done to prevent it he will say education.
“ By looking at and focusing on education, we are working really hard to prevent a reoccurrence and protecting the children in a way of taking them off the street.
“This would prevent negative influence that would make them future Boko Haram insurgents and victims.
“The Boko Haram took advantage of the poverty in the region by providing money for the people to carry out evil attacks,’’ Ocheche said.
According to him, Nigerians are unaware of the enormity of the crises and humanitarians situation in the region or what interventions are being done there.
Ocheche urged the media to continue to highlight the needs and challenges of these vulnerable persons and also let them know that a lot of Nigerians are committed to assisting them.
He said that they should be aware that a good number of Nigerians under the auspices of the VSF have made little donations to ensure their wellbeing.
This, he said, would further give them an assurance of being a part of the nation against being brainwashed by the Boko Haram insurgents that they are alone. (NAN)