Minister Of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Under Secretary Meet Gov Zulum,Urges UN To Support Nigerian Military With Security Equipment To End Boko Haram.

By Sadiq Abubakar, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock visited Maiduguri, Borno state on 23 and 24 October 2019 in company of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk.

The team which held over an hour closed meeting with the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum. The Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major. General. Olusegun Gabriel Adeniyi later paid a courtesy visit to the governor at the Council Chamber of the Government House Maiduguri. The Minister said they were in Maiduguri on fact-finding and to discuss further humanitarian issues effecting the state among other related matters with a view to addressing them squarely with the support of the federal government and International Non Governmental. Organisations which the federal goverment has signed pact with on humanitarian crisis management .

She added that the visit was to avail UN representative and under secretary with the aras of needs for immediate support and contributions while commending their roles and support to the people affected by the insurgency in the state.

The Minister further said that President Buhari has expressed great concern over the humanitarian .crisis in the north east and ever ready to support the ministry carry out its mandate to end the crisis and ensure that IDPs are resettled and returned back to their ancestral homes to continue with their lives instead of relying on food aids.

In an interview with journalists, the Minister said government prepared and it is ever ready to resettle the IDPs back to their homes and provide them with sustainable livelihood opportunities to better their lives.

She noted that the ministry has set up investigative committee to identify areas of needs for immediate attention which will be fast track out of the experience of what she was doing in her former commission on refugees.

In his remarks, the UN Under Secretary, Mr. Mark Lowcock said UN has been supporting Nigeria in many humanitarian activities and he was expected at the official handover of the UN House ceremony in the capital Abuja, which will hold on UN Day, Thursday 24 October.

The Emergency Relief Coordinator is also expected to meet with senior Nigerian officials, donors, UN agencies and local and international NGOs involved in the federal capital and in Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri.

On 26 August 2011, twenty-three UN staff, contractors and visitors lost their lives and 60 others were injured in a car bombing at the entrance of the UN headquarters in the capital.

Ten years of conflict have left over 7 million people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and Nigeria remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. The provision of life-saving services to these ravaged communities is a joint effort between the Government of Nigeria and the international humanitarian community since 2016.

Responding, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum said following the humanitarian crisis in the state was as a result of the boko haram insurgency. The state had lost over 70% of it's basic infrastructure, agrarian land for farmers and almost every house was affected by the crisis which he described as devastating.

He added that the crisis affected every sector of the state economy and since his assumption of office, the number of interventions and mechanisms have been put in place to provide succour to the people by way of rehabilitating and giving them hope, to empower and alleviate their sufferings to survive.

Zulum noted however that today it is the issue of providing the IDPs with food but changing the narrative from humanitarian services to sustainable livelihoods to enable the IDPs continue with their lives in their communities has become necessary, while appealing to the UN to rather assist the Nigerian military with security equipments and armory to end boko haram insurgency not only to provide support in the form of humanitarian Aids.

According to him, it is only through such interventions that the boko haram insurgency can be brought to an end to allow people return to their villages and towns to continue with their lives and sustain a better livelihood instead of being at the IDPs camps receiving humanitarian support from the iNGOs.

He however thanked the iNGOs and other donors for their support and the minister for the visit while appealing to the UN Under Secretary to use his academic possessions and experience to assist the state end the crisis.

"I urge you to provide more ecological aids to the theater command with air force equipment to enable the military carry out air strikes.

" The best way to flush out the insurgents and end this issue of insurgents is to clear them out. Borno is blessed with vast and fertile land . The IDPs can return to their farmlands to farm. The crisis has created 49,000 widows and 49,600 orphans.

"Not that we don't need iNGOs. We need them greatly. But what we are saying is they should come out and tell UN what they want to do or are doing here in Borno. Let them come through OCHA UN and the ministry of Humanitarian Affair's as well as the North East Development Commission. They are suppose to know what they are doing.

" My concern is to bring this humanitarian crisis to an end within the shortest possible time. We are looking forward to tap on your wealth of experience and vast knowledge . Thank you for the visit," Zulum said