Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum yesterday ordered the release of N12.2m as an addition to a need-based intervention of the Victims Support Fund (VSF) to families of 61 district heads killed by Boko Haram across the state since 2009.
The VSF, a public and private funded humanitarian body set up by the presidency during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, had after meetings with all the families to identify their livelihood needs, made available a variety of economic, social and educational empowerment items estimated at N61 million from which each family got materials worth a million naira.
Speaking as a special guest of honour at the intervention ceremony held Thursday at the Shehu of Borno’s palace in Maiduguri, Governor Zulum directed the release of N200,000 to each of the 61 families, making up N12.2m as the state government’s contribution.
He said the support was in view of the fact that most of the district heads were killed by insurgents because of their roles 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.
Earlier in her address, the executive director of VSF, Prof. Nana Tanko, said 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 most residents run to palaces for help in moments of crisis.
She noted 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 sustain themselves, explaining that all interventions were based on the needs tabled by each of the 61 benefiting families.
The executive director noted that the intervention was on the request of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi.
The Shehu of Borno expressed gratitude to Governor Babagana Zulum and the VSF for coming to the aid of families of the slain traditional rulers.