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Int’l Donor Confab in Norway to Focus on Pitfalls of Boko Haram Insurgency

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The forthcoming International Donor Conference, scheduled for February 24, in Oslo, Norway is to draw attention of the global community to the fallouts of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

This is with a view to gaining more international support for the resultant humanitarian challenges, and to secure greater political commitment from governments of the region to improve the situation

Apart from also focusing on emergency relief efforts, the Oslo conference is expected to look at food security, humanitarian protection and access to aid, as well as education in situations of crisis and conflict.

Receiving the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria and his German counterpart, Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud and Barnthard Schlagheck respectively, in his office in Abuja yesterday, the Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said the federal government was committed to putting energy and resources into addressing the humanitarian challenges in the North-east of the country.
He assured that the government will strongly support any initiative by the international community in that direction.

The envoys were in his office to brief him on the Oslo conference, which is being organised by Norway in collaboration with Nigeria and Germany, and in close cooperation with the United Nations (UN).
Foreign ministers from the region, representatives of the African Union and the European Union, representatives of donor countries, and the heads of UN organisations are also expected at the conference.

Apart from focusing on emergency relief efforts, the Oslo conference is expected to look at food security; humanitarian protection and access to aid, as well as education in situations of crisis and conflict. Reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the region, the minister expressed the country’s appreciation for the strong support received from Norway and Germany in the past, noting that they have demonstrated genuine support for Nigeria.

In a statement issued by the Udoma’s Media Adviser, Akpandem James, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, was also quoted as saying that the Nigerian government had demonstrated serious commitment in tackling the challenges of the North-east region, including putting in place a presidential committee to monitor effective implementation of initiatives.

She noted that it was common knowledge that the Nigerian military has recorded tremendous successes in tackling insurgency, adding that disruptions in economic activity caused by the insurgents had thrown up humanitarian challenges.

Ahmed pointed out that addressing the problem of the region requires a more holistic approach since the challenges are partly driven by unemployment, which has rendered the youths of the region easy targets for recruitment into insurgency.

In his remarks, the Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Kjemprud said it had become necessary for countries of the region to effectively engage the international community because the situation presently requires a greater international involvement and increased funding to prevent it from deteriorating.
The German Ambassador, Mr Schlagheck, while acknowledging that the federal government’s approach to tackling the situation has been much more effective than before, he stressed that countries in the Lake Chad region, which had been affected, still needed to do more.

He added that the ability of the international community to assist affected countries in addressing the challenges is directly contingent on those countries commitment to engage themselves and others in efforts towards rehabilitation and reconstruction of the region.