President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate release of the N5 billion pledged by the Federal Government since August 2014 for the Victims Support Fund (VSF) which was set up to render succor to the victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
The President who gave the directive on Friday in Abuja after being briefed by the VSF Presidential Committee directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr Danladi Kifasi, to facilitate the immediate release of the money.
Earlier, the chairman of the VSF Presidential Committee, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, told the president at the Presidential Villa, that out of the N55.92 billion pledged at the VSF fund-raising dinner, N33.54 Billion was still outstanding, with N5 billion owed by the government.
Danjuma disclosed that the total amount of money that was pledged by various contributors was slightly more N50billion, out of which only N23billion had so far been redeemed.
He said: “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.’’
Danjuma explained that the VSF had N23.33 billion in four different bank accounts, adding that the Jonathan administration had approved the incorporating of the fund into a Trust Fund, to insulate it from political interference.
The former Chief of Army Staff and ex-Minister of Defence, urged the President to use his office to persuade all individuals and organisations who made pledges for the VSF to redeem their pledges.
Responding, President Buhari urged the Committee to ensure proper coordination with other government agencies that were providing support and assistance to victims of terrorism.
He assured the assured Danjuma and members of the Committee that his administration was taking proactive steps to defeat terrorism in the country.