• Urges Nigeria, others to speedily fulfill pledges made at Oslo conference
By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The United Nations Security Council has described the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s North-east and Lake Chad Basin region as not just the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever faced but regrettably the most neglected and forgotten.
The world body while calling for urgent response from the international community to help tackle the scourge that has affected over 14million people with bout 8.5m in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, warned of dire consequences if they world failed to tackle the crisis in the next 18 months.
The UN position was made known at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, on their visit to parts of the North-east ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.
According to the leader of the delegation and United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative at the UNSC, Mathew Rycroft, “The reason we have come to the Lake Chad Basin is that the crisis of the Lake Chad Basin is one of the largest but also the most neglected and forgotten crisis.
“We want to shine a spotlight on that crisis so that the whole world including the government of the region step up their response to the crisis before it is too late.”
Giving a vivid account of their experiences in parts of Borno State visited, Rycroft who painted a picture of sorrow, pain and hopelessness in the region added that what is been unfolded in the region is a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportion.
“We have been struck by the individual stories that we have heard, including yesterday in the IDP Camps in Maiduguri from the women whose husbands have been killed by Boko Haram, who have lost children to Boko Haram and who are now struggling to feed themselves and their families, who are struggling to give their remaining children education that those children deserved,” he said.
The UK envoy who stressed the imperative of defeating the poisoned ideology of Boko Haram and the need to replace the fear that they sow with hope assured Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region of the readiness of the UN in assisting to help in that regard.
While commending the efforts of the governments of the region particularly in their coordinated efforts in decimating Boko Haram, the UNSC charged them to redouble their efforts until the job is done.
Rycroft said, “We stand again with the government of Nigeria in responding to that crisis, we encourage the government of Nigeria to step up to disburse the N1billion that they pledged at the Oslo conference from the state level and the national level. And we ourselves are stepping up in response to this humanitarian crisis.
Also speaking, Senegal’s Permanent Representative to the UNSC, Fode Seck, urged Nigeria to take the leader in disbursing her own pledge to serve as an encouragement to other nations who made pledges at the Oslo conference.
He said: “If you want somebody to help you, you should start by helping yourself, so Nigeria government made an interesting pledged in Oslo, we are just from the ministry of finance and planning and she explained to us that this government will effectively disburse the money through normal budget process.
“Our appeal is for the international community also to disburse the amount they pledged in Oslo and before Oslo for these collective efforts to bear fruit.”
However, the UNSC is of the view that both the military and humanitarian response cannot provide a lasting solution to the crisis. They are therefore calling on governments of the region to take the issues of development, jobs, environmental issues, education as well as human rights more seriously.
The UN Representative in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, however, noted that the visit and the Oslo conference have succeeded in bringing to lime light the global humanitarian crisis facing the region.