President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr Danladi Kifasi, to facilitate the immediate release of the N5 billion pledged by the Federal Government since August 2014 for the Victims Support Fund (VSF).
The President gave the directive after receiving a briefing from the VSF Presidential Committee headed by retired Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Danjuma had earlier told the President that out of the N55.92 billion pledged at the fund-raising dinner for the Fund in August last year, N33.54 Billion was still outstanding, including N5 billion from the Federal Government.
“The total amount of money that was pledged by various contributors was slightly more N50billion. Of this amount only N23billion has so far been redeemed.
“So, there is a lot of money out there to be recovered. Of the organisations and individuals that have not fulfilled their pledges, the Federal Government is one.
“We are expecting N5 billion and the President today promised to honour the pledge of the Federal Government.’’
According to Danjuma, the VSF currently has N23.33 billion in four bank accounts and that the committee received approval from the immediate past administration to incorporate the fund into a Trust Fund, to “insulate it from political interference”.
He, therefore, urged the President to use his office to persuade all organisations and individuals to honour their pledges to the Committee.
President Buhari, however, urged the Committee to ensure proper coordination with other government agencies providing support and assistance to victims of terrorism.
The President assured Danjuma and members of the VSF Committee that his administration was taking proactive steps to defeat terrorism in the country.
He said that despite the challenge of acquiring much needed strategic equipment and weapons to confront the terrorists, the Nigerian military had recently gained much ground in its effort to defeat and degrade Boko Haram.
He added that the full deployment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), under the auspices of member-states of Lake Chad Basin Commission, would further boost ongoing military operations against the insurgents.