The recent economic crisis that hit many countries has hindered some urgent humanitarian aids in the North- east region of Nigeria destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency, the United Nations Development Programme has said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark UNDP 50 years anniversary, the new Resident Representative, who doubled as the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura said the economic crisis has made it difficult for many countries to redeem their donations towards assisting the region destroyed by insurgency.
She said support to conflict Prevention, peace building, and social cohesion remain a key priority for UN mission in Nigeria. “We will continue to provide support to the government in responding to emerging challenges; – we are redoubling our efforts and investing more in promoting peace because, as the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said, “there can be no development without peace, no peace without development, and none of these without respect for human rights”.”
According to the new UN rep this is packaged in the framework of a National Infrastructure for Peace in Nigeria, adding “We want to use this framework to harness efforts at federal, state, and local government areas, bringing together the relevant stakeholders. We will keep providing support towards enhancing our early warning and response mechanisms and programmes, and expand channels for dialogue aimed at peaceful co-existence.”
She mentioned that out of about $1billion earmarked for the UN programmes, about $240million or 25 per cent will be channelled to the North- east Region to fast track rehabilitation process.
On the poverty intervention, Ms Samoura mentioned that Nigeria has experienced growth in the recent past,saying that how this growth translates in poverty reduction depends on; the sources of this growth; how inclusive such growth is; and the degree of inequality that exists.
She therefore said, at ‘‘UNDP, we believe that expanding the sources of growth (diversification) and ensuring that is pro-poor are key elements necessary for reducing the levels of poverty in Nigeria. Through the Economic Policy and Inclusive Growth Unit, UNDP is providing strategic support to the Government of Nigeria in two key areas that will help expand this growth; these include; promoting agricultural transformation and strengthening the Solid Minerals Sector.
“UNDP’s support for agricultural transformation is also extended to current and former partner states such as Ekiti, Niger and Benue. Specifically the Ekiti Agricultural Irrigation Scheme was implemented as a joint partnership between UNDP, Ekiti Government and the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
“The proposed cooperation framework for strengthening the solid minerals sector between the Ministry of Solid Minerals and UNDP Nigeria is targeted at increasing the production of minerals to generate revenue for the country as well as create employment opportunities for the million unemployed Nigerians. At the early stages the framework will seek to improve the solid minerals policy, legislative and regulatory framework as well the strengthening of the capacity of the key public institutions that govern the mineral sector, particularly the Ministry of Solid Minerals and related departments.”