VSF, NDA Sign N75.8m MoU to Tackle Boko Haram

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Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

In a move to address the recent attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents, the Victim Support Fund (VSF) Thursday signed a N75.8 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to research on the activities of the sect and offer solutions on how to tackle the fundamentalists.

The Executive Secretary of VSF, Prof. Sunday Ochoche, while speaking at the signing ceremony at the office of the VSF in Abuja, stated that the project, which will cost N75,800,000.00, will last for two years.

According to him, “The research will focus on the critical perspective of Boko Haram insurgents and their activities and since the NDA has the reputation for handling critical training of the Army, Naval and Air Force personnel, the institution is best suited for this project.”

He said that the project is part of the response to the concerns of the present administration led by President Muhammedu Buhari over the understanding of the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.

“You will recall that President Buhari, at his inauguration, had indicated that as a nation, we will need to have a better understanding of the Boko Haram insurgents and that his government is going to work towards accomplishing understanding the whole phenomenal about Boko Haram,” he said.

He explained that the project, in many ways, is part of the response to the concerns of the president himself and it is very much in line with the mandate of VSF, which includes advising the government on critical issues around the Boko Haram insurgency and the fact that as an initiative, “we pride ourselves as a knowledge driven agency which is not just by chance and remour that we work but we work with data and information, because when you get the premises wrong, your conclusions will be wrong and when you get your conclusions wrong, you can be assured that your interventions are going to be wrong”.

Speaking further, he said: “This is why it is important that we address some of this critical issues. The Boko Haram insurgency has consumed significant components of our national resources but it is still very important that we know what our problem with Boko Haram is.

“We are still lacking in the national narrative of the Boko Haram activity. There are still some parts of the country that see the Boko Haram insurgents as a problem of the North. Some see it as a problem of the North-east. In the North-east, some see it as a Borno problem while some in Borno still see it as Kanuri problem and so on.”

He revealed that there is still a discontent and with that a discontent response to what clearly is a major national crises that we have.

“We have put together this research and chosen an institution that has the operational link to the development as the intellectual capacity and the combination of all the relevant capacities that we need for us to work together and get down to the substance of this matter and it is our belief and confidence that at the end, we will be coming out with a result that will make significant difference to our understanding, policy formulation and responses about how we will manage, prevent and need be, how we will manage such crisis in future.

“This project is huge. It will take between one to two years. It involves significant field work, major international conference, writing, publication of a major book and tentatively, it is going to cost us about N75.8 million.

However, the MoU we are signing today is to provide the general principles and guildlines for the management of the entire process of the project and the VSF will be providing all the funds for this project. The academy will manage the details and every other aspect of this project,” disclosed Ochoche.

Speaking in similar vein, the NDA Provost, Prof. Azubuike Nwankwo, stressed that, “the project will assist in getting evidenced-based solutions and findings as it will involve a lot of investigations.

“I am hopeful that this project will give us the opportunity to understand the Boko Haram problem proper.”