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UN TO EXPEND $2.5 BILLION ON RECOVERY, LIVELIHOODS PROJECTS IN NORTHEAST

By Jutah Gupah

The United Nations Development Programme Administrator (UNDPA), Achim Steiner and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock have called on partners to “reinforce joint efforts” address dire humanitarian needs in Northeast. Emergency relief partners, according to UN, should speed up the recovery livelihoods for three million people in dire need of healthcare, shelter and education in conflict affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Steiner and Lowcock made the call on Saturday in Maiduguri, while briefing journalists on their official visit to Bama and Ngwom community in Borno state. “We are here to support the Government’s leadership towards solutions in the Northeast,” said Steiner, adding that; “We are committed to Nigeria and to the people affected by the nine-year Boko Haram insurgency.” According to him, humanitarian aid can only be a temporary solution; without identifying root causes of conflict. He further disclosed that the international donors’ pledge of $2.5 billion (N1.44 trillion) at the Berlin conference last September; was to address the root cause of Boko Haram insurgency. He said the pledged fund, is specifically dedicated for humanitarian, stabilization and recovery projects in the Lake Chad region. He said the UN and partners are not only to help conflict affected countries with humanitarian assistance, but develop them. “The $600 million (N216 billion) were expended for the provision of healthcare, shelter and education to three million people in the Northeast,” he said. Continuing, Steiner added: “I’m pleased to be here with the UNDP Administration, Lowcock to help join up humanitarian and development efforts. “This is to save life, help stabilize the situation, rebuild lives and communities for the future.” The UN, according to him, must do everything it can to prevent the crises from continuing for years. On the development challenges, he said: “Helping people affected by the crisis requires us to work together to tackle immediate humanitarian needs and the root causes of the crisis. “We have a unique opportunity to make a real difference to communities across the northeast of Nigeria.” He said that the Federal Government has launched recovery initiatives with efforts geared towards rapid stabilization in the region. He said the implemented early recovery and livelihoods activities by the UN agencies, international and local NGOs were to address underlying causes of the conflict. “These could be achieved by laying the foundation for sustainable development and prevent aid dependency,” he said. He noted that as the humanitarian crisis has spilled over into Lake Chad region, it remained the most severe in the world with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast.

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