UN honors Taraba Speaker for humanitarian intervention, legislation


By Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has presented an honorary award to the Speaker Taraba state House of Assembly, Dr Joseph Kunini for is humanitarian services and commitment to the wellbeing of refugees and other persons displaced in the Northeast.

The award is coming after a brainstorming session between the Speaker and the Commission on how to provide legislation that would protect the rights and wellbeing of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region, held in Adamawa state recently.

Speaking during the presentation, the deputy speaker, Alh. Hamman Adama who presented the award on behalf of the Commission, said the commitment of the Speaker to the wellbeing of refugees and displaced persons was not only very obvious but also unprecedented.

Adama said the commission was determined to work with the legislature to ensure that the rights of persons displaced by insurgency and other crisis in the Northeast region as well as refugees who were taking shield in the region were protected and respected at all times.

“Today, we present this award of honor to you, Mr Speaker in recognition of your commitment to the wellbeing of refugees and other persons displaced by crisis in this region. Your commitment is very obvious and I make bold to say, unprecedented.

“We hope that this award will spur you to do even more in ensuring that there are appropriate legislation that will protect the rights and wellbeing of this vulnerable sections of our communities” he said.

“Responding to the award, Kunini said that he was deeply humbled for the recognition and pledged to do even more within his capacity as an individual, a legislator and leader of the state house of Assembly.

Kunini said that the whole essence of representation was to be able to reach out to segments of the society that are  really in need and vulnerable.

“Today, I am receiving this award that is coming in barely two weeks after I got another from a group of youths, also in recognition of my humanitarian services to the people especially the displaced persons and other vulnerable sections of the society. For me, I believe that service to such groups is one of the most natural things to do. It constitutes a major essence of representation that should be held in high esteem.

“I must say that this award is most humbling and it has further strengthened my resolve to work for the good of these vulnerable members of our society both as an individual and as the Speaker of the House. We would continue to provide legislation that would guarantee the security and wellbeing of refugees and other displaced persons. 

“Our primary concern however, goes beyond mere assistance towards their wellbeing. Their total rehabilitation remains our top priority. The state governor Darius Ishaku is also passionate about their wellbeing and we are working collaboratively to ensure that persons displaced by crisis in the state return to their homes and lives as soon as possible with all the necessary assistance that the state government can offer.

“Let me use this opportunity to also commend the UNHCR for the good job they are doing in the region and indeed, across the world. We must all work together for the good of the less privileged of our communities. That is the essence of our elevation,” Kunini said.