By Chimezie Godfrey
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, has commended the European Union, EU, and the United Nations, UN, and other partners for providing support in tackling humanitarian issues in the country.
In a joint press briefing on Friday in Abuja, the Minister appreciated the International partners, the visiting European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and crisis management and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.
She said the International partners have assisted the Federal Government to ease the suffering of millions of Nigerians by supplying relief materials such as food, medicines and other humanitarian interventions.
“The magnitude of humanitarian challenges has impacted greatly on Nigeria leaving many in dire need of assistance for the basic needs and necessities of life.
“It is against this background that government through the Ministry has taken the lead in tackling the situation.
“Federal Government has continued to provide humanitarian aids and relief materials to displaced persons but this is not sustainable and government is focusing on early recovery through rehabilitation, resettlement and development of the affected population to be economic and self-reliant.
Farouq pointed out that the choice of Nigeria as his first port of call by the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crises Management, Mr. Janez Lenarcic after his appointment is indicative of the interest the EU have in supporting Nigeria.
She added that his visit to Borno State gave him an idea of the humanitarian challenges in the Northeast.
She reiterated Federal government’s commitment in ensuring support, security and safety for humanitarian aid workers in the areas of conflict.
Earlier, the EU Commissioner on Humanitarian Aids and Crisis Management, Janez Lanercic revealed that the EU and AU have put forward a new and comprehensive strategy for Africa which would be coming soon.
He said,“Africa is to be one of our key policy priorities.
“We strongly believe that within this context Nigeria is to play a key role.
“With my visit to the Northeast, we are ready to deepen our partnership in all area of common interest” he stated.
Lanercic announced in a press statement the first emergency aid package of 26.5 million euros for 2020 which would provide food aid, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, shelter, basic healthcare and education for children caught up in the conflict.
Speaking further, he said the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will give the opportunity to improve effectiveness in meeting humanitarian needs and challenges in Nigeria.
The EU Commissioner expressed his concern over the issue of security and protection of both national and international humanitarian workers who have become targets of attack recently, which is not in line with International humanitarian law.
He added that the decision of the Minister to pursue a high level of dialogue involving the civilian, military and humanitarian actors is welcomed by the EU, with a view to withdraw restriction on humanitarian workers.
Also speaking, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, revealed that the collaborative effort of stakeholders was able to support over 5.6 million people with emergency assistance in 2019 and aims to reach about 5.8 million people in 2020.