Former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) wednesday inaugurated a General Hospital, council secretariat, police station and 37 other public structures to set the stage for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to Dikwa town, headquarters of Dikwa Local Government Area in Borno State, used to be one of Boko Haram’s occupied and administered territories before liberation by Nigerian troops under the Buhari administration.
Dikwa is 80 kilometers from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Danjuma had arrived Maiduguri a little after 10a.m. and was received by Governor Shettima at the Maiduguri International Airport before proceeding straight to Dikwa for the inauguration.
THISDAY gathered that the Victims Support Fund (VSF), initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan and chaired by Danjuma had two months ago gone into a pilot partnership with the Borno State Government which resulting in the fund donating building materials worth N200 million and cash of N50million for labour and supervision to the Borno State Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement which was to rebuild 24 public structures including a General Hospital, schools, the council secretariat, police barracks, police stations and other public buildings to put in place civil authority and essential facilities to prepare the return of IDPS. However, Governor Shettima guided the ministry into using the same amount of materials to reconstruct 16 additional public buildings beside the 24 earmarked by the VSF bringing to 40, the total number of buildings rebuilt through the partnership.
“We gave Borno building materials worth N200 million and cash of N50million for payment of labourers and other coordinating items to reconstruct 24 public buildings we identified in Dikwa but to our pleasant surprise, the Borno State Government used the same materials and money to reconstruct not only the 24 public buildings to standard but added 16 others. This is remarkable’” Danjuma was told by Professor Sunday Ochoche, Executive Director of the VSF.
While inauguration the 40 projects, Danjuma, dressed in sky blue jeans shirt and trouser, said he was impressed with the ‘judicious use of resources by Shettima” noting that with the positive attitude displayed by the Governor, the Victims Support Fund has decided to make intervention on reconstruction of Bama town, the worst affected by Boko Haram occupation.
The retired General said out of over N50billion donated by corporate organisations, individuals and government institutions during fund raiser at take off, only less than half the amount has been redeemed to the fund so far. He explained that when it was established, the scope of the Fund was to rehabilitate victims of the Boko Haram insurgency but that the Buhari Government expanded the scope of the Fund to include reconstruction. He noted that Dikwa town was the test of reconstruction works by the Fund and Bama will be next.
Danjuma also said the Fund would make intervention in supporting individual victims to rebuild their homes through a controlled system of donations made to them with supervision on how they apply the donations.
In his remarks, Governor Kashim Shettima was full of praises for Danjuma’s role in managing the VSF.
“In 2014, when it was made public that one of Africa’s foremost philanthropist, one of Nigeria’s most disciplined generals, one of northern Nigeria’s most revered leaders, General Danjuma was to chair the Insurgency VSF, every reasonable Nigerian ad even the international community had hopes rising because everyone knew that whatever amount that was to be raised was going to be safe under the custody of our father, Danjuma.