Nigeria to seek global support in Norway

Hauwa Noroh Ali,Abuja

The Nigerian government is to seek global support to address the humanitarian challenges in the North East of the country at the opening of a two-day international conference in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday.

This is according to a statement issued by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James on Wednesday in Abuja.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who would be attending the conference, explained that violent conflicts and human suffering had left a devastating mark on the North-East.

Ahmed said that conflicts had left a devastating mark on the zone and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, leaving the affected areas with degraded infrastructure and serious humanitarian challenges.

“The need for all of us to work together to assist the governments of the region salvage the situation cannot be over emphasised.

“The Government of Nigeria and the rest of the international community need to pull resources to assuage the situation to bring to an end this humanitarian crisis,” she said.

According to the minister, the festering humanitarian challenges resulted from a lack-lustre approach to the developments in the region over a long period.

Ahmed, however, said that in the last quarter of 2016, the Nigerian Government, together with partners, came up with the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) for Nigeria.

She said that HNO led to the development of the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).

The minister said that the development of HRP and subsequently the Nigeria Mirror Image (NMI) custom-made to assist the government with budgetary allocations and mobilisation of domestic resources.

She said that Nigeria would require 1.054 billion dollars to fund the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan, considering the debilitating nature of the crisis in the area.

“This indicates, however, that less than 10 per cent of it is currently being funded, sign-posting the need for concerted fund-raising to meet targets.

“The Nigerian Government, including the six North Eastern States, have already made a provision of N792,685,898, 375 (about 2.6 billion dollars) in the 2017 budget proposals to address, among others.

“The problems of health, nutrition, education, security and also the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed during Boko Haram attacks in the region.’’

Ahmed said in 2016, 2.77 billion dollars’ worth of budgetary resources was earmarked for the same purpose, with needs still remaining high.

She said that an unprecedented upsurge in humanitarian operations between October and December 2016 saw significant achievements.

“What we need to succeed in 2017 is sustained engagement and support from all humanitarian actors.

“We also need support on improved communication at all levels, access facilitation, human resources and sufficient funding to cover the cost of implementing the HRP.”

She further said that budgetary provisions had been made for 7.1 million people through Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

In addition, she said that the Joint Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria 2017 Partners would work to alleviate the most life-threatening needs of 6.9 million people located in the three most affected states.

“The three affected states are Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (the BAY states) of North-East Nigeria.

“The BAY states have an estimated 8.5 million people in need,’’ she said.

 

Norway is organising the conference jointly with Nigeria and Germany, with close collaboration with the UN.

Foreign ministers of countries in the affected region, representatives of the African and European Unions, donor countries, and heads of UN bodies are expected to attend the conference.