Boko Haram: Jonathan admits Nigeria passing through stress

                                                           President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday admitted that the country was currently passing through stress orchestrated by the violence being perpetrated by members of the Boko Haram sect.

He said that was why his administration had resolved to tackle the insurgency from different fronts.
Jonathan spoke while inaugurating a steering committee for the Safe Schools Initiative, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The committee, which is co-chaired by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and a former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, also has the likes of Aliko Dangote, Nduka Obaigbena, as well as governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, among others as members.

He said, “This country is passing through stress within this period, caused by the excesses of the Boko Haram sect and our government has been approaching it from different fronts.

“We always insist that the defence or security does not end terror but we need to stop collateral damage on innocent people.

“For us to win the war, we need to look at it holistically: economic issues, educational issues, religious issues and socio-cultural issues, among others.

“At the federal level, we have the Presidential Initiative on the North-East. They are looking at the totality of what the Federal Government can do in collaboration with stakeholders.”

The President said he had already received a copy of the report of the North-East Economic Summit, and that based on that report, his administration was looking at areas where government would come in.

He said the Safe Schools Initiative was one of the areas, where his government was intervening.

He decried the high rate of school dropout in some of the states, which he said, had risen to 70 per cent in some states, saying that was not acceptable to his administration.

He said Brown pioneered the initiative with government to see how they could tap global fund for school security.
Jonathan said he would also set up a Victims Support Fund, to assist victims of terror attacks.

He said he would launch the fund on July 16.

The President said, “We are also coming up with a package. Because we know that we need to intervene to cushion the effect of Boko Haram. So many people have been killed; we have widows and orphans. Properties have been destroyed, schools burnt.

“Government is also coming up with what we call Victims Support Fund. We believe that government alone cannot cushion the effect. We want to mobilise resources within and outside Nigeria, just like we did during the flood of 2012.

“We are trying to get somebody that will head that fund. We are looking at the 16th of this month to formally launch the fund. Government will put something and individuals will do too.”

Jonathan said the safety of Nigerian children and the security of their education must be paramount to all stakeholders.

He said tragic occurrences, like the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, must not happen again in the country.

“In line with this, we have designed this initiative to enhance the safety of our children and the teachers within the school environment and maintain the confidence of parents in sending and keeping their children in school.

“Education and skill acquisition are key to the advancement of our country and ensuring the employment potential of our youths.

“In Borno State today, for example, children, especially girls, are not going to school because of the risk they face from terrorism and violence. This is not acceptable.

“I understand we can only make schools safer within the context of a secured nation but I want to assure you that my government will do everything possible to ensure safety of lives and property nationwide. We have challenges; we are confronting it and we will surely overcome,” he said.

Jonathan disclosed that in tackling insurgency, his administration was deploying a three-point strategy that focuses on security, seeking political solution as well as economic solution through various economic empowerment and job creation programme all directed at combating insecurity.


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