By Victoria Onehi
The United Nations says it welcomes the Federal Government’s positions on a coordinated approach to handling humanitarian crises in Nigeria.
The UN describes the approach as the best way to find durable solutions to the multi-dimensional humanitarian challenges facing the country, saying it will partner with the Federal Government in that regard.
A UN Team, led by the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on solutions to internal displacement, Mr. Robert Piper, made this known when he visited the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu in her office.
Piper who was joined at the meeting by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale said only durable solutions can bring quick coordinated results.
He commended the Minister for starting well by visiting areas with major humanitarian needs and pledged the UN’s support for Nigeria under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reduce humanitarian and Poverty crises in the country.
According to Piper, his mission in Nigeria was to follow the UN Secretary General’s action agenda on internal displacement and to renew the assurances of the UN in supporting Nigeria in her areas of Humanitarian needs.
Piper said: ” Honourable Minister, you have worked so hard in just three weeks; given what we have seen you doing, it looks as if you have been in the office for a long time, please keep it up”.
Responding, the Minister thanked the UN team for the visit and kind words. However, she opined that operating in silo by different UN agencies would not bring desired humanitarian response results despite their efforts.
The Minister in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, disclosed that there is a need for a coordinated approach in line with the government’s vision.
“We must face reality, when humanitarian crises occur, the temptation is to offer emergency response only hoping the will be resolved quickly and people will go back home. However, the reality on ground is that people in their millions are displaced for many years. Some 10 years, some even a life time. So instead of building “ waterproof” Tarpaulin make shift huts that can’t stand even 6 months amongst other temporal solutions, let’s offer more durable solutions that can resettle people in their new locality and set them on a path of economic prosperity again.”
“There is a need for a coordinated approach in line with the government’s vision. Humanitarian crisis are big challenges, I just returned from Niger and I have been to Borno, the challenges there are huge. Benue is even more pressing, more needs to be done to support Nigeria.
“Development Partners should stop building tarpaulins for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and provide them with durable homes, finding durable solutions to the problem of resettlement, improve their livelihood and provide means of economic survival for them in collaboration with the federal and state governments”
Edu said the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was beginning to be felt by the IDPs in Nigeria and expressed optimism that with the approval of the Humanitarian Trust Fund, through Budget provision, Special allocation, tax, Development partners support and private sector support, humanitarian crisis and Poverty in Nigeria would soon be things of the past.
She explained that the Federal government’s work plan on humanitarian responses will trickle down to states to provide durable solutions and not just hand out of food and other materials to the IDPs
“The President will also be discussing this at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). “It’s time to provide durable solutions to Humanitarian crises and poverty in Nigeria” she added.
Present at the meeting was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and poverty Alleviation Mr Abel Enitan.