By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–A two-day Humanitarian Country Team Retreat seeking lasting solutions to the crises in the North East ends on Friday in Abuja.
The Federal Government of Nigeria at the retreat reiterated its commitment to providing the needed humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable across the country as the world recovers from the COVID-19 effect.
This Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq made this known at the opening of the maiden 2021 United Nations organized retreat at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
In her address, she thanked the Humanitarian Country Team under the leadership of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon for being a worthy and reliable partner at the forefront of supporting the government in providing the needed assistance to the vulnerable across Nigeria.
Umar Farouq also revealed government’s medium and long term plans to tackle its humanitarian needs.
“The Government is scaling up efforts to provide durable solutions for the return, reintegration and resettlement of affected communities”.
According to her, the launch of the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan by the ministry and the UN Office for the Coordination of Affairs (UNOCHA) will go a long way in addressing those in need.
“As part of the commitment of the Federal Government to coherently coordinate humanitarian assistance in the country, it has developed a National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework (NHDPF) through the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC). This framework seeks to ensure peace, stability and resilience in Nigeria, by promoting home-grown approaches to proactively address critical humanitarian and development challenges”.
She observed that to successfully address the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria, collaboration is needed from all relevant stakeholders, continuous interaction and cooperation between the Humanitarian Country Team, the Federal Government, Security Agencies and other relevant actors.
This she said will enhance sustainable peace and simultaneously provide development opportunities especially in conflict affected areas in the country.
“Furthermore, as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to coherently coordinate humanitarian assistance in the Country, it has developed a National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework (NHDPF) through the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC). This framework seeks to ensure peace, stability and resilience in Nigeria, by promoting home-grown approaches to proactively address critical humanitarian and development challenges”.
She maintained that Nigeria remains a top priority area for humanitarian support and assistance, given the complex nature of the challenges faced by the country as she urged United Nations to cooperate with all relevant national and state stakeholders to strengthen national capacity.
Umar Farouq said that will in no small way help in the fight against insurgency and provide efficient humanitarian service delivery to the most affected populations.
Earlier, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon described the retreat as very timely as the block of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle was about to restart.
He noted that Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the North East remain one of the largest crises areas in the world today with thousands killed and displaced.
”The conflict is in its 12th year and over 37,000 people have been killed. At the peak of the crisis, over 2.2 million people were displaced in the BAY States and another 303,963 Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The situation is also very dynamic and 1.9 million people remain internally displaced in the worst affected States and an estimated 1.6 million people that have returned to relatively safe areas.
“We are currently facing unprecedented challenges with increasing levels of violence, not just in the north-east but also elsewhere in Nigeria. We are also facing, as a result of this, a shrinking humanitarian space, a real threat to humanitarian staff, facilities and operations. We are still reeling from the impact of Covid-19, including the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Nigeria. The Covid 19 pandemic will also likely have a profound impact on our funding environment, with available funding either stagnant or reducing in the year and, likely, beyond 2021. At the same time, humanitarian needs are increasing. This is the result of continuing violence displacing people, as well as a looming food crisis putting up to 4.4 million people at risk. Unless we manage to stave off and prevent this crisis, it could deteriorate to catastrophic levels”.
Kallon congratulated the Borno State Government for the recent options provided to displaced persons on return and sought collaboration with other state governments to find ways to jointly find solutions without putting people at risk.
He stated stated peace remains the only solution to humanitarian problems in the North East and called for the prioritization of crisis prevention through dialogue.