The Nigerian Government is committed to putting energy and resources into addressing the humanitarian challenges in the North East of the country and will strongly support any initiative by the international community in that direction.
Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma indicated this in Abuja when the Ambassadors of Norway and Germany, Mr Jens-Petter Kjemprud and Barnthard Schlagheck respectively, briefed him on the forthcoming International Donor Conference, scheduled for February 24, in Oslo, the capital of Norway.
The conference is to draw attention of the international community to the fallouts of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region, to gain more international support for the resultant humanitarian challenges, and to secure greater political commitment from governments of the region to improve the situation.
Apart from also focusing on emergency relief efforts, the Oslo Conference is expected to look at food security; humanitarian protection and access to aid, as well as education in situations of crisis and conflict.
While reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the region, the Minister expressed the country’s appreciation for the strong support received from Norway and Germany in the past, noting that they have demonstrated genuine support for Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, also said the Nigerian Government has demonstrated serious commitment in tackling the challenges of the region, including putting in place a Presidential Committee to monitor effective implementation of initiatives.
She indicated that, as is well known, the Nigerian military has recorded tremendous successes in tackling the insurgency, but the disruptions in economic activity caused by the insurgents has thrown up humanitarian challenges.
The Minister of State pointed out that addressing the problem of the region requires a more holistic approach since the challenges are partly driven by unemployment which has rendered the youths of the region susceptible to easy drafting into insurgency.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr Kjemprud said it has become necessary for countries of the region to effectively engage the international community because the situation as at now requires a greater international involvement and increased funding to prevent it from deteriorating.
The German Ambassador, Mr Schlagheck, while acknowledging that the Federal Government’s approach to tackling the situation has been much more effective than before, he stressed that countries in the Lake Chad region, which has been affected, will still have to do more.
He added that the ability of the international community to assist affected countries in addressing the challenges is directly contingent on those countries commitment to engage themselves and others in efforts towards rehabilitation and reconstruction of the region.
Norway is organising the conference jointly with Nigeria and Germany, and in close cooperation with the United Nations. Foreign ministers from the region, representatives of the African Union and the European Union, representatives of donor countries, and the heads of United Nations organisations are also expected at the conference.
Media Adviser to the Hon. Minister