Community based orphanages are now emerging in the North-East at the instance of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI) to cater for children orphaned by Boko Haram insurgency in the region. 56,000 of such children are targeted by the project, according to the Vice Chairman of PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah.
Alhaji Tumsah who made this disclosure at a media roundtable in Maiduguri said that the establishment of orphanages is imperative to ensure protection and survival of minors, and to guarantee their education and health needs as well as the improvement of their social wellbeing. He explained that the Committee is working in collaboration with humanitarian actors to build the capacity of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to enable them take charge of existing orphanages in the region.
The Vice Chairman said, “What we are thinking of is to have orphanages that are run by local people who are desirous of taking up the orphans.” He added: “We will like to give people the opportunity to also participate in the process. PCNI is willing to promote it through organisations that are willing to also participate in it, as sustainability is key.
“In the last count, we have 56,000 orphans on record and that is not a small number, it is larger than most armies in West Africa, and it is a lot of process to cater for them. “We want to have community based orphanages run by the local people and to be sustained by the locals themselves.”
Tumsah also said the committee was providing food and non-food items intervention to existing orphanages in Borno.
According to him, the Committee has supplied drugs and medical equipment, food and non-food items to the Special Orphans Learning Centre, Maiduguri, established by the North East Children’s Fund, an NGO.
Tumsah also disclosed that based on the statistical findings of the Borno Government indicate “more than 53,000 children were orphaned, and 50,000 women have been widowed by the insurgency in the state.
The state government also embarked on 22 mega school projects to enroll the affected children, while some organisations and individuals also offered health and education support to the orphans in the state.”