South Africa will continue to support efforts by Nigeria to fight terrorism, its High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Mngumi Lulu, has said.
Lulu spoke at the launch of a skills development centre in an IDP camp by the commission in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the launch of the centre was part of efforts by South Africa to assist in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
He said that equipping IDPs with different skills would address some root causes of insurgency behaviours and promote self-sufficiency among IDPs.
“Today the world is celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day; we pay homage to a great leader.
“He said `make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning’ and we therefore thought that the best contribution we can make in this IDP camp is to establish a centre of learning.
“Our aim is to make sure that the people who are here are not idle, do not think of their present situation but they develop skills and prepare themselves for the future beyond the war.
“We believe that while you are here you can acquire skills that will improve the quality of life of your families.
“We are sure that this war will be won and you will go back to your homes and contribute in rebuilding your communities,” Lulu said.
He said that the South African Government would explore other areas in which it could assist the IDPs.
“We will look into possibilities of scholarships, mobilise business people and non-governmental organisations to complement our efforts.
“South Africa is always with you and we will also support the Nigerian Government to defeat the scourge of terrorism and assist in whatever way that is within our capacity,”
In her address, Ms Lynette Johnson, the Coordinator of the skills development centre, said that 15 volunteers were already available to offer their services.
Johnson also called on volunteers to offer their services to the development of IDPs in the camp.
“As we open the centre today, I will like to make a plea for volunteers; volunteering extends beyond monetary value.
“I believe that one most valuable effort is one’s time because what we can do with our time can have such great impact on the lives of others, especially those less fortunate than us,’’ she said.
She expressed gratitude for the contributions that had come in from different partners.
One of the volunteers, Ms Chinor Emeka, founder of the National Heritage Awards and Miss Heritage Nigeria, expressed optimism in the objectives of the centre.
Emeka said that five volunteers from her organisation were set to offer their services.
“We are going to assist in educating the children, especially because these are the leaders of tomorrow and it is an honour to be contributing to shaping our society through education,” she said.
Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 through a unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. (NAN)