SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE VICE PRESIDENT, PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO AT THE NORTHEAST HUMANITARIAN MULTI STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGEMENT AT THE BANQUET HALL GOVERNMENT HOUSE, MAIDUGURI, BORNO STATE OCTOBER 27, 2015
I am extremely pleased to be here today to participate in this all important North East Humanitarian Multi stakeholder Engagement . This meeting is important not just for what it plans to achieve namely the mapping out of collaborative efforts to the NorthEast but also for the fact that it is taking place at all and in Maiduguri, the city that has probably suffered the most loss of lives and property in the past six years of the Boko Haram scourge.
Your being here underscores not just your empathy for victims of terror but it also demonstrates the outrage and anger that we all feel about the mindless killings, abductions and wanton destruction perpetrated by the sect.
Our being here expresses our collective determination to find the most cost effective and creative ways to intervene in restoring the dignity, family lives and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs in the North East. And significantly our being here and ready to engage shows our belief in the common humanity of all men, women and children. We may not know them by name or face, we may speak a different language or dialect, or belong to a different faith, but we are in the eyes of our creator one and the same. We too, but for time and chance could have been in exactly the same position.
This region has suffered tremendously in the past six years. The destruction of infrastructure, farmlands, businesses, and trades. The destruction of schools and the loss of school years . Rebuilding, restoring and rehabilitation will cost money and time. But neither money nor time can fix the trauma of loss of family, relations and friends. The shame of the raped, the scars and fears of parents of the abducted and kidnapped, The bewilderment that comes with loss of homes, possessions and livelihoods, the hundreds of thousands of orphaned children.
The tasks before us are many and profound, to fix brick and mortar and to mend hearts and minds damaged by senseless murderous violence. But we are called not just to mend the hearts and minds of the victims but also of their traducers, and killers . The young men and women who have been brainwashed to kill, maim and destroy in the warped belief that by so doing they please God. They are also victims. Indeed These perpetrators are themselves victims, trapped in the vortex of evil manipulation, compelled to dehumanise themselves as they shed the blood of the innocent. It is our duty to deconstruct the narrative that causes men to kill children on their beds at a boarding school at night even as we degrade the military capacity of the terrorist insurgents. The tasks are indeed many and profound.
But while there is still so much to do, much has been done already.
The many civil society groups, funding partners, regional and international partners, have given of their time, resources and even lives is some cases, deserve to be commended. But for you, first responders we would have been far worse off than we are today.
One of the goals of this initiative is to strengthen the capacities of existing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), especially in this region, and to aid the development of others where noticeable and important gaps exist. There is no question about the fact that if we are to succeed, we must invest in the CSO community. Later, in the course of this engagement, the Presidential Initiative for the Northeast will unveil a plan to help develop the capacities of NGOs in this region and grow new ones where needed. The plan includes the implementation of grant programs to existing or emerging CSOs to help develop them. To be included in this program is a technical assistance package which will be implemented in conjunction with other development NGOs .
The CSO community is the heart and conscience of underserved people and communities. You have shown uncommon compassion and offered a voice to the most vulnerable, especially when others were nowhere to be found. You have supported governments at all levels, in this region in particular, when things were very tough. As we deal with what Is evidently the greatest human challenge in Nigeria ‘s recent history, we will need you to be even stronger. This challenge will require dedication, innovation and creativity especially from the NGO and CSO community.