Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has called on well-meaning individuals, non-governmental organisations and top-notch schools nationwide to assist the over 47,000 vulnerable children at the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) camps in the Northeast.
Osinbajo said the crisis, which the insurgency left in their trail, is so complex and beyond what government alone could handle.
The Vice President said the Federal Government, through the Northeast Children Fund (NECF) initiative, has only succeeded in lifting barely 2,500, a figure Osinbajo still considers a drop in the ocean, considering the huge statistics.
He was keynote speaker at the Atlantic Hall 30th anniversary award dinner/ launching of N2bn endowment fund in Lagos at the weekend.
Osinbajo, who wooed Atlantic Hall Trust Council into partnering with (NECF), lamented that despite that local response by humanitarian organisations to tragic situations has remained a sprinkle.
He said: “In 2015, I paid my first official visit to Maiduguri in Borno State to inspect some of Federal Government’s facilities like the IDP camps and others facilities for victims of the conflict in the Northeast.
“There we counted 49, 245 young children who had lost their parents. Almost half of them were girls, and some of them were simply wandering around. And that was only in parts of Maiduguri metropolis. There were thousands more.
“The tragedy of conflict and its outcome in poverty and displacement is stuck. Government alone cannot handle it. There are international NGOs here and there but the local tragic response is still very little.
“So we agreed to establish the Northeast Children Fund chaired by Mr Jim Ovia. The objective is to build learning centres and schools that can equip and handle traumatised children and give them world-class education and care.
“A lot of the funds have helped build some of these schools that are now accommodating over 1,500 children. The board has also taken over yet another school accommodating additional 700 (children), and we are now looking at the prospect of a bigger facility.
“The board invited Grange Scholl to help in passing on some knowledge about teacher and school experience. They’ve done a wonderful job. However, despite their best efforts and that of Borno State government, there is so much more left undone.
“There are still thousands of girls in the camp while some are still roaming on the street waiting for second chance. But only committed individuals and organisations of conscience can offer them hope.”
Osinbajo praised the 10 young awardees whom he described as the nation’s shining lights and role models that have blazed the trail across varying disciplines and offering other youths hope of a better future
10 distinguished alumni of the school were given ‘special recognition’ award for their impact in the society and for making their lam mater proud.
Chairman, Atlantic School Trust Council Chief Taiwo Taiwo, recalled how five women of like minds put heads together to establish the school 30 years ago.
She recalled how Atlantic School relocated from its Maryland Ikeja to its 30-acre site in Epe 15 years ago.
Mrs Taiwo said the school’s greatest challenge is having a ‘cemetery of dead generators’ to take care of its over 600 students and workers, as it had to contend with a perennial power supply over the years.
One of the awardees, Marc Okoye of Class 2003, described the honour as ‘one of the greatest achievements of my life’.
Okoye who at 33, is Anambra Commissioner for Budget & Planning, said he along other awardees has a lot to be grateful to their alma mater for impacting quality and making them who they are.