Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, Monday said that donors have pledged about $700 million to address the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region.
Onyeama stated this in Abuja while responding to questions from newsmen following a closed door meeting with a United Nations (UN) delegation led by Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Recall that the UN had in February organised a 1.5 billion dollars donor conference in Oslo, Norway, to tackle the crisis caused by Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin.
Donors had pledged more than 670 million dollars at the conference hosted by Norway in conjunction with Nigeria and Germany to support the rallying of aid in the region.
“At the last count I believe about 700 million dollars has been realised in the pledges made to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin country including Nigeria.
“Nigeria is having the large chunk of it. The UN is disbursing a lot of the fund, and a lot of it is going into relief and food materials for the Lake Chad region countries,” Mr. Onyeama said.
The minister commended the UN for the role it played in organising the conference but noted that there were challenges in the redemption of the pledges by the donors.
“We appreciate very much, role the UN has been playing in assisting us addressing the serious humanitarian challenges we are facing in the northeast of the country.
“We are very grateful to the UN for assisting us to organise the donor meeting in Oslo and really put it in the centre of the international stage.
“We appreciate the visit of the delegation led by the UN Under-Secretary-General which is meant to highlight the challenges of the of Lake Chad Basin countries,” he said.
“We appreciate it very much, of course the challenge in the pledge is to have it all redeemed but it is a work in progress and significant amount has been redeemed.
“UN has also embarked on creating awareness through the UN General Assembly and to encourage international support”, Onyeama said.
Mr. Lowcock had earlier stated that he was in Nigeria for a direct assessment of the humanitarian crisis in the northeast region and will report his findings to the UN General Assembly.
“My visit is to have firsthand assessment of the situation here and in particular to understand the progress made in the lives of the people that need humanitarian help.
“More than 11 million people over a year ago were in need of humanitarian help and are now being helped by Nigerian government and the international community.
“Next week when the leadership of the UN will gather we will have the opportunity to take the stock of the progress made and to identify further area where the assistance would be provided”, he said.
Lowcock said that he would be in the northeast to meet with affected populations and humanitarian partners to evaluate the response.
The UN official also revealed that the visit would give him the opportunity to interact with government officials in the northeast and to advocate for increased support for the affected communities.
Lowcock who said his visit was also aimed at drawing global attention to the area and issues, stated that the focus was particularly on women and children amid growing protection concerns, food insecurity and worsening health conditions as evidenced by the recent cholera outbreak across camps.
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