By Omololu Ogunmade
The United Nations (UN) has commended the federal government for improving humanitarian support in the North-east.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the UN commended Nigeria for the feat amidst international concerns on activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the North-east.
According to him, the UN observed that the federal government “has taken important steps to improve access to people in need.”
Adesina disclosed that some international humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had expressed concern over their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in some parts of the North-east as a result of security concerns especially in some remote areas of Borno State.
He said the drive to ensure effective access to vital food supplies, made the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee to bring the matter to the presidency’s attention.
“The president then mandated the Vice President to work with the Committee, Governors in the region, and relevant MDAs, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with international NGOs and multilateral agencies operating in the region.
“The vice president then held a series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and INGOs.
“This intervention by the Presidency has led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supports the activities of the INGOs and offers more secured access to the areas in question,” he said.
According to the statement, the UN secretariat in its reaction to this intervention by the federal government, during a briefing last week by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, told the Security Council about the global body’s engagement with Nigeria and its output.
“I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the Government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further,” it quoted Lowcock as saying.
The statement added that Lowcock submitted that “in north-east Nigeria, as we told you…violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.”