Journalism of Courage

Insurgency, humanitarian crisis in Northeast: UN mobilizes $321m for Nigeria — Guterres

… UN scribe had closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buahri in Abuja

Nigeria’s fight against insurgency in the Northeast and to combat the emerging humanitarian crisis has attracted a whopping $321 million from the world body — the United Nations.

Announcing this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the visiting UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said the intervention was to also help Nigeria address the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in the zone.

Guterres, who began a two-day first official visit to Nigeria, had visited Borno State and the IDP camps and thereafter had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buahri in Abuja.

“We are very active in support of the humanitarian effort of the Nigerian government and that is why we have called for an additional $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria,” he told State House correspondents after the meeting.

On his visit to Borno, the epic centre of the insurgency, he said:“From what I saw, great hope lies ahead. Despite all that they have seen and endured, the people I saw remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives.

“To that ends, I welcome the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of displaced persons in the Northeast.’’

Guterres said his meeting with Buhari was fruitful as they both discussed how to address the challenges confronting the country and the 2023 polls.

“The spirit of hope amidst hardship and solidarity in struggle was also in the centre of my discussions with the Nigerian President today.

“We discussed the importance of laying the ground work to ensure peaceful and democratic elections next year and the full participation of Nigerian women and young people in all areas.

“We also discussed the government’s measures to address security challenges across the country. I want to extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the appalling attacks in Plateau State two and half weeks ago. It is a tragic reminder of terrorism scourge across West Africa and the Sahel.”

On what can be done to prevent terrorists from fighting back despite efforts by regional governments in Africa to decimate them, Guterres said military option was not enough to deter them.

“It is simple, I saw it in Borno. If you fight terrorism just militarily, the terrorists will strike back but if you fight terrorists militarily and address the root cause of this terrorism, terrorists will no longer have a chance to persist.

“I think that it was Mao Tse Tung that said that `insurrection should move like fish in the water’. So, if the communities are able to defend themselves and they trust the regional government institutions and if there are programmes to guarantee a full reintegration and for ex-terrorists and to guarantee that victims have a future, then I think that we can defeat terrorism,’’ he said.

Guterres retated UN commitment to combating terrorism, violent extremism, organized crime, poverty, food insecurity globally.

Lauding Nigeria’s role in sustaining peace in Africa and beyond and its leading role in sustaining democracy on the continent, the UN chief described Nigeria as a pillar of continental and global cooperation.

“I thank President Buhari for his unwavering support for the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. We also discuss the other challenges that Nigeria is facing today. Nigeria is a pillar of continental and global cooperation and a steadfast part of the United Nations.

“From its vital support for peace keeping to its leadership in fighting for fairness in developing countries, to being home of my Deputy Secretary, Amina Mohammed, above all Nigeria is a country where Africa’s promise and potential can come to vivid life.’’

On the pressure of Ukraine for humanitarian assistance and its effect on UN supply to other nations in need such as Niger Republic, Guterres said: “From the point of view of the United Nations, it does not affect. We have increased our actions in Ukraine, but we have not decreased our actions in all other parts of the world.

“My appeal for those that support financially, United nations not to divert funds from other humanitarian and development funds of cooperation to the Ukraine crisis but to put additional contribution for that crisis not undermining the efforts in humanitarian and development  cooperation that are taking place all around the world.”



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