International Conference on North-East Nigeria holds in Norway

Lawan Hamidu & Aliyu Othman, Abuja

A two-day International Donor Conference will hold in Oslo, Norway, to raise funds for the reconstruction of North Eastern Nigeria, devastated by the activities of boko haram insurgency.

The event jointly organised by Nigeria, Germany and Norway, scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week will attract donor countries and agencies to help in the reconstruction process.

Speaking to National Assembly Correspondents on the event, the Chairman House of Representatives’ Committee on IDPs. Refugees and North East Initiative, Sani Zoro said the event is to mobilise donors to the North East humanitarian and infrastructure needs.

Zoro “Efforts to reconstruct the North East Nigeria, devastated by the activities of Boko Haram will receive boost with the Donor Conference which will complement government’s efforts towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.”

Since the technical defeat of the insurgents Boko Haram, government attention was focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the areas destroyed during the insurgency.

Immediate Response

The Oslo conference became necessary based on the neglect suffered by the insurgency region that covers Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon and the crisis that reached grave proportions that required an immediate and strong response.

The United Nations says “that the urgency of the situation called for swift, decisive action to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and to prevent a protracted crisis”

The UNDP Regional Representative and Humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon described the conference “as a great opportunity for the international community to make meaningful commitment towards funding our humanitarian response activities in the affected region”

He said ” it’s also an opportunity for the government of Nigeria to tell the world the true extent of the crisis” 

The UNDP humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria said ” the humanitarian response plans for 2017 for Nigeria seeks more than $1billion to meet the needs of the 6.9 million people targeted… we are hoping to raise more than this at the end of Oslo conference on February 24 in Norway” 

Humanitarian Support

Mr. Kallon called on donors to contribute to this humanitarian support to make life meaningful to the millions of those affected 50% of who are children.

He warned that a repeat of the 2016 neglect of the humanitarian needs that hampered activities should not be allowed to recur by funding the shortfall.

He said only 53% pledges were redeemed by donors that exposed vulnerable children, women, girls and youths that should not be allowed to be repeated based on the likely risk involved in such delays.

Conference Objective

The conference will draw attention to the urgent humanitarian crisis within Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, and to generate support for the needs outlined by the Humanitarian Response Plans and appeals for the respective countries necessary action.

The Oslo Conference will also highlight the need to foster resilience, to address medium- to long-term development needs and identify durable solutions for the affected people.

The conference is expects to increase political attention to the serious humanitarian crisis in the region, raise financial assistance to address urgent humanitarian needs that will support Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

The organisers of the conference, the German Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Sigmar Gabriel and WFP will speak on food security needs in line with the World Food Program plans, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees will speak on protection and access.

The host Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Borge Brende, the UN Under Secretary-General Mr. Stephen O’Brien and UNICEF will speak on Education and emergencies for the desired solution to the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.