Japan pledges $50m for northeast Nigeria

Japan on Thursday pledged 50 million dollars (about N26.2 billion) for humanitarian assistance in the northeast.

Japan’s Ambassador to Nigeria Sadanabu Kusaoke stated this in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim on Thursday.

The pledge is coming as international donor conference to raise one billion dollar for recharging Lake Chad and for the humanitarian needs in northeast holds in Olso Norway on Feb 24.

This year we have decided to allocate 50 million dollars from our budget for humanitarian assistance in the northeast, for food and nutrition.

“Of course we have been funding the project in the last three years, but we have decided to assist addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Chad basin with the 50 million dollars,” he said.

Sadanabu said that Japan would also focus more on the rebuilding and development of the area affected by the Boko Haram insurgence in the northeast.

The envoy said that his country would continue to cooperate with Nigeria to end the issue of insurgency and de-radicalisation of the militants.

“We have two points  of focus in the northeast, one is on the development and another one humanitarian but at this moment we are more focus on humanitarian assistance,” he said.

He added that his country would assist Nigeria on the issue of diversification and economic development.

The envoy told the minister that a business delegation from Japan would be visiting Nigeria in May 2016 with a focus to invest in power, manufacturing, transport, housing sectors among others.

He said that the Japanese companies see Nigeria as a potential country to do business with inspite of her economic challenges.

He said the process of investment needed to be strengthened by providing conducive environment for investors.

“At the beginning of May the business delegation from Japan will be visiting Nigeria, it will be a combination of various sectors, finance, manufacturing, housing among others.

“There are three pillars which guide our cooperation with Nigeria this include economic diversification including agriculture and infrastructure; health and social stability including eradication of terrorism.

“As far as the economic diversification is concern the Private sector is important. Japanese government is committed to areas like power and transport, Agriculture is also important,” he said.

The minister in her response expressed pleasure on the proposed visit by Japanese investors stressing that it would boost the economy of the nation

For her part Mrs Abba-Ibrahim said the investment would also enhance job creation and boost the efforts of the government in the diversification of economy.

“The contribution in the area of health and malaria control is a welcome development; this assistance will go a long way in solving the problem of the people

“We need to go to agriculture based on the fact that Nigeria government has intensified efforts on diversification and based on the deep relationship between the two countries.

“I think agriculture is  good venture and it should be looked into in terms of development to make the economic growth,” she said.

According to her the relationship between Nigeria and Japan is waxing stronger, it has been in existence for a very long term and we hope that it will grow better.

It can be recalled  that the UN says it is planning to raise one billion dollar for humanitarian needs of persons affected by Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East zone.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, stated this in Abuja.

He said that no fewer than 450,000 children were likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in Borno this year.

Kallon observed that Federal Government may have been overwhelmed by the prolonged conflict in the region, making it more difficult to help those affected to recover, rebuild and resettle.

“There are 14 million people that have been affected by the Boko Haram and the plan is to assist 6.9 million and expect the government to provide assistance for the remaining 7.1 million people.

“The Humanitarian Response Plan 2017 for Nigeria seeks more than 1 billion dollars to meet the needs of the 6.9 million people targeted, ” he said.