Arewa youths reject Govt’s N5.8bn compensation for post-election violence

ABUJA— Northern youths, yesterday, spurned the Federal Government’s offer of N5.8 billion compensation to the families of the victims of the 2011 post-election violence that rocked most parts of the North and a few southern states.

The youths, who denounced the offer through the National President of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, noted that the offer was a Greek gift from the Presidency to the affected states so as to win their support for President Jonathan’s re-election in 2015.

Yerima, who queried the sincerity of the government in the offer, wondered why it had taken President Jonathan more than two years to remember the families of the victims while the issues that gave rise to the violence were yet to be addressed.

The youth leader noted, “to us, we see this as medicine after death and a desperate attempt to woo the North once again to support Jonathan’s re-election in 2015. ”

But, we are not fools and can no longer be taken for granted by those who think that they can always deceive us and get away with it.

“Why has the government suddenly remembered that so many families lost their loved ones and property since April 2011? This government is not sincere to us and they have continued to make a mockery of the people of the north, thinking that we are fools.

“It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is just realising that it should release the money for the compensation of the families of the victims, some of who have since died out of frustration and hardship. Why have they released the money with just a few months to the beginning of electioneering for the 2015 Presidency?

“We want right-thinking Nigerians to read between the lines and know that this government has never been sincere with the people and that it is not responsive enough to the yearning and aspirations of the people of Nigeria, particularly, the north that has been afflicted by series of violence in recent years.

“The Presidency should stop playing politics with everything in Nigeria. It should be able to differentiate between providing service to humanity and playing to the gallery for political gains,” the ACF leader warned.

The Federal Government, yesterday, announced the approval for the release of N5,747,694,780.00 to nine states of the federation for direct disbursement to those who suffered losses of property, means of livelihood and places of worship in the post-election violence of 2011.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, who announced this, said government’s decision was to assist those who suffered losses during the crisis as recommended by the Sheikh Ahmed Lemu panel that was set up after the crisis.

The states to benefit from the money, according to Abati, are, Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Adamawa and Akwa-Ibom.

Abati explained that the interest of those who died in the course of the crisis would be accommodated by the Federal Government.

It would be recalled that following the post-election violence and civil disturbances in some states after the April 2011 elections, President Jonathan set up a panel of enquiry headed by Sheik Ahmed Lemu, to among other things, identified the spread and extent of losses suffered across the country.

The committee recommendation was adopted by the Federal Executive Council which directed the Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing to assess the reported losses and damage to property in all affected states.

The Special Adviser to the president noted that based on the Ministry’s report, “President Jonathan has approved the release of funds to nine of the 14 affected states as follows: Bauchi;  N1,574,879,000.00; Sokoto, N55,888,506.00; Zamfara, N93,253,485.00; Niger, N433,375,875.00; and Jigawa, N208,667,634.00.

Others include: Katsina, N1,973,209,440.00; Kano, N944,827,000.00; Adamawa, N420,089,840.00 and Akwa Ibom N43,504,000.00.

The presidential spokesman explained that” Inspection and assessment of damages and losses suffered are yet to be carried out in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Kaduna and Nasarawa states as modalities and further instructions for the ex ercise are still being expected from the state governments.

“Funds to cover the losses sustained by victims of the post election violence in these five states will be approved and released at the conclusion of the assessment exercise” he said.

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