By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands to Nigeria, Robert Petri has called for a multi-level international cooperation in the delivering of humanitarian services to vulnerable people in the North-Eastern part of the country, displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Petri spoke in Abuja at a panel discussion group at the launch of the Consortium video Documentary, “Shelter in the Storm,” organised by Nigeria Joint Response (NJR) in collaboration with Save the Children, to mark the International Women’s Day.
According to him, the ever increasing needs of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) equally call for a multi-pronged approach especially on the part of the international community, in the restoration of normalcy to the affected victims of the insurgency.
“A lot of work needs to be done and we have to press for progress. I will also encourage you to follow such programmes. We talk about shared responsibility by government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and ordinary people to make things work and I think with the collective effort, we will be able to achieve this, he said.”
Ambassador Petri also stated that women in the North-East have been forced to become breadwinners following the unexpected death of their husbands in the hands of the insurgents.
Also speaking, NJR Consortium Coordinator, Etta Mbong said NJR which is a consortium of seven international NGOs, is also working with local partners in meeting the needs of the displaced persons in the area of health, education for their children and skills acquisition.
“We are trying to raise awareness on the gaps regarding gender issues in the North East so that stakeholders who are providing responses in the region can be aware and then improve their programmes to empower women.”
In a private chat with this medium, Professor Patricia Donli of the University of Maiduguri tasked the society to change some cultural and institutional barriers mitigating the progress of the woman, arguing that the humanitarian crisis in the North-East is bigger than what some people take it to be.
“It is time to encourage the woman to speak up. The empowerment of women should not be mistaken by men. We simply want to help out and take the burden off the man, as it were,” she added.