President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called on the international community to ensure speedy global humanitarian action in Nigeria’s North-East and Lake Chad Basin.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said Buhari made the appeal at a High-Level Event on “The Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Basin: A Turning Point,” in New York.
He said that the event was jointly-sponsored by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Adesina said the meeting was held on the margins of the ongoing 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).
In the statement, Buhari appealed to the international community not to delay or downplay the need for humanitarian intervention in the areas affected by insurgency and socio-political unrest.
“It is time for collective global action to invest in the people of Nigeria’s North-East and the Lake Chad Basin region.
“We are renewing the call for re-dedicated international action to end the humanitarian needs of victims and address the root causes of terrorism itself,’’ he said.
The president said that the complexities and severity of humanitarian crisis across the world had increased in recent times, resulting in devastating repercussions.
According to him, political and socio-economic structures as well as the growth trajectory of many countries have been negatively affected leaving traumatized populations.
“The dual impact of Climate Change and terrorism-cum-insurgency has created deeper implications for peace and security, social harmony and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he added.
While commending the Multi-National Joint Task Force for degrading Boko Haram, Buhari said that the Nigerian government had been fully responsive to the urgency to save lives, protect victims of insurgency and guarantee stability.
He added that the government would continue to facilitate the resumption of normal social and economic activities in the North-East of the country.
According to him, the Federal Government is not overwhelmed by the enormity of this humanitarian challenge.
Rather, he said, “we remain resolute in defeating terrorism in all its forms.’’
The president stated that his administration had put in place a people-driven counter-terrorism strategy built on a combination of revamped security operations and human rights-based approach.
He said that the approach would help to bring about rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction in the area.
He said that Nigeria had been providing food support, reintegrated healthcare, shelter, psycho-social support and access to water and sanitation amenities for those in need.
“We are also engaging highly respected community and religious leaders to discourage vulnerable youth from being radicalized.’’
Buhari expressed delight that displaced persons had begun to return to their communities in Konduga, Mafa, Benisheck and Ngala in the North-East.
On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, he said that the unfortunate incident had remained in “our national consciousness,’’.
He assured that his administration was working hard to ensure the release of all Nigerians held captive by Boko Haram, including the school girls.
“We are ready to ensure their swift rehabilitation, reintegration and the continuation of their studies once returned to their families.’’
On Lake Chad, the president said that the shrinking of the lake had adversely affected the communities around the basin by increasing their hardship.
Given the enormous challenge posed by the dwindling waters, he said that no state in the region could independently meet the needs of the victims of the depressing occurrence.
He therefore reiterated Nigeria’s call for stronger international action and support for the implementation of the Lake Chad Development Resilience Action Plan.
He also stressed the need for “increased global attention and active engagement than it is currently receiving.”
Buhari acknowledged the critical support the North-East and Lake Chad Basin had been receiving from the United Nations and development partners, and pledged Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate to “find a lasting solution to this human disaster’’. (NAN)