By Olawale Ajimotokan and Michael Olugbode
The federal government and the United Nations have launched a $1 billion virtual appeal fund to provide critical humanitarian assistance for 6.5 million most vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq yesterday reiterated the growing need to assist displaced people affected by the crisis in north-eastern Nigeria through the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan.
She noted that the need to seek more support for the affected persons, particularly women and children has become a priority in the light of north-east conflict which is now in its 12th year and which has impacted many Nigerians.
She said the federal government is committed to the plight of the affected people and is leading the response to secure and provide lifesaving assistance to those in need, in collaboration with international humanitarian community.
“We are facing additional challenges in terms of security and access for humanitarian partners,which is why we have developed the National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework. I am encouraged that the NHDPF emphasises promoting longer-term durable solutions. We must always look forward, beyond the immediate crisis, to ensure that we help people, re-establish their lives and strengthen communities, so that we can reduce dependence on aid and promote resilience and self-reliance,” she said.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon noted that the only solution to the crises in the area was to prevent humanitarian crises by embracing peace.
He urged stakeholders to use the opportunity to solve the problems in the restive areas, noting that last year, over three million people were provided with basic humanitarian needs, while presently 8.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.
In her address, an advocate of the Borno State Network of Women Led Civil Society Organisations, Ms. Ann Darman, stated that protection remains a key issue and challenge for women and girls in conflict settings, particularly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
She said sexual and gender-based violence continue to pose risks in the lives of many women and girls, adding much must be done to protect the vulnerable ones.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs yesterday said $1 billion is needed in 2021 to address the humanitarian needs of those affected by ongoing insurgency in the North-east.
It said that the fund is needed to attend to the humanitarian needs of 6.4 million out of 8.7 million people affected by the crisis that has nearly brought the region on its knees for about 12 years.
A statement by UNOCHA lamented that the ongoing conflict continues to be the main driver of humanitarian needs in north- east Nigeria, where millions of people have been displaced.”
It also decried that long standing insecurity and violence, compounded by climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 are increasing the vulnerability of close to 9 million people, with about 2 million people internally displaced, while millions of people depend on humanitarian partners for basic services, even as 5.1 million people are facing hunger in the lean season, which was described as the worst outlook in four years.
The statement said: “The humanitarian community and the Government of Nigeria officially launched the north-east Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 earlier today (Tuesday). The plan requests $1 billion to enable partners to provide critical services to the 6.4 million most vulnerable people – amongst a total of 8.7 million people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in 2021.”