Abuja (Nigeria) – Nigeria’s Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has cautioned Nigerian against cynicism and hopelessness about the recovery of the 217 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram, stressing that their recovery is uppermost in the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the recovery of the Chibok girls is of utmost importance to the extent that it dominates the security meetings of the executive councils.
Speaking in Abuja at a one-day Roundtable on Vulnerable People in Insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria, a forum organized by the Office of the National Security Adviser the vice president noted that President Buhari as a parent shares in their trauma.
He said, “At any security council meeting that I have attended, the President in particular has always been concerned about the question of Chibok girls in particular. Of course it comes out of ensuring that apart from the international importance attached to it, he reflects on the abduction as if any of the girls is one of his own.”
While expressing government’s appreciation to local NGOs, CSOs and international partners, he urged them not to relent in their continued collaboration and assistance in order to address issues around the wellbeing of victims and rebuilding the North East areas affected by insurgency.
Describing the day set aside to mark the anniversary of the kidnap of 217 Chibok girls in Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists, Osinbajo said, “it brings to fore some critical issues on the handling of the plight of vulnerable people notably the abduction of Chibok girls and the killings of Buni Yadi boys as well as the recent kidnap of three girls in Ikorodu, Lagos in a non-conflict area”.
Vice President Osinbajo averred that understanding the fundamental problems of poverty, corruption and lack of education are interconnected, as such, it is critical to fashion out long term solutions to the plight of vulnerable people in the country. He noted that vulnerable people ;like women and children are exposed to the harshest conditions not only in conflict areas but in everyday life.
Underlining the role that government can play in solving the problem of poverty, the Vice President observed that past budgets have largely ignored this need, stressing that budgets should be tailored to provide for the poor people.
“There is a sense in which we must pay attention to how we design government programmes, and how we plan budgets, so that we take into account the great poverty of our people.”
He then disclosed that this concern is the reason why the Federal Government had N500 billion voted in this year’s budget for five different social intervention programmes including conditional cash transfer to the very poorest.
On corruption, Prof. Osinbajo said the present level of systemic corruption in the country has made it difficult to deliver service to the people because funds meant for infrastructure and social upliftment of the people were diverted.
He submitted that the society has to deal with the corruption saying “I believe we must deal with corruption, it is at the heart of what has gone wrong in this society. We must deal with not only individuals, but with corruption in a systemic fashion”, he canvassed.
While emphasizing the importance of addressing vulnerability through quality education especially education for girls, Osinbajo assured of Federal Government’s continuing commitment in that sector. He however emphasized that States and Local Governments of the Federation must also ensure that quality education is given to their people.
He opined that “it is important in my view to have a lot more advocacy to reverse the situation where about 10.4 million children are out of schools. Together We Can Do More.”