UN’s $321m more to support humanitarian response

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres, yesterday said the organisation will mobilise an additional $321 million in support of Nigeria’s efforts to combat terrorist activities in the Northeast.

He said the amount would be part of the overall $1.1billion earmarked for the humanitarian response plan for the country.

The UN chief spoke with reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

In Nigeria on a two-day visit, he was in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Tuesday, where he interacted with victims of terrorist activities.

“We are very active in support of the humanitarian efforts of the Nigerian government.

“That is why we have called for an additional $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion humanitarian response plan for Nigeria.

“Despite all that they have seen and endured, the people I saw remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives.

“To that end, I welcome the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of displaced persons in the Northeast.”

He said his meeting with President Buhari touched on how to address the challenges confronting Nigeria and the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He maintained that the spirit of hope amidst hardship and solidarity in the struggle was also at the centre of their discussions.

“We discussed the importance of laying the groundwork to ensure peaceful and democratic elections next year and the full participation of Nigerian women and young people in all areas.

“We also discussed the government’s measures to address security challenges across the country.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the appalling attacks in Plateau State, two and half weeks ago.

“It is a tragic reminder of terrorism scourge across West Africa and the Sahel,” he lamented.

He reiterated the commitment of the UN towards combatting terrorism, violent extremism, organised crime, poverty and food insecurity, worldwide.

He also commended Nigeria for its role in sustaining peace in Africa and beyond, as well as for playing the leading role in sustaining democracy on the African continent.

“I thank President Buhari for his unwavering support for the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“We also discuss the other challenges that Nigeria is facing today. Nigeria is a pillar of continental and global cooperation and a steadfast part of the United Nations.

“From its vital support for peacekeeping to its leadership in fighting for fairness in developing countries, to being home of my Deputy Secretary, Amina Mohammed, above all Nigeria is a country where Africa’s promise and potential can come to vivid life,” he added.

President Buhari told the UN boss that Nigeria remained grateful to the global body and some world leaders for their steadfast partnership with Nigeria in fighting terrorism.

He noted that the country and the African continent were already concerned that the attention on Russia and Ukraine would crowd out other issues, but the ongoing visit of the UN scribe clearly showed that “the world has not forgotten us.”

The President said terrorism remained a threat to global peace, security and progress, with many already killed, while millions had been displaced by the insurgents over many years.

“When we assumed office, the Northeast was the major security problem we inherited in 2015, but we have been able to make people understand that you cannot kill people and shout ‘Allahu Akbar,’ (God is great!).

“It is either you don’t know what you are saying or you are simply stupid. God is a God of justice, so you cannot kill people and say God is great. Luckily the people understood our message and it has made great impact,’’ he said.

President Buhari told the UN scribe that the government had started a gradual, but steady process of resettlement and reintegration where citizens get encouraged to return to their farms, businesses and other pursuits in life.

(THE NATION)