The United Nations deputy secretary-general, Mrs Amina Mohammed has pointed out that about 10.7 million people in the lake Chad Basin needed life-saving assistance.
She also disclosed that the humanitarian situation in the region is worrisome. This is even as she revealed that 4.5 million people are currently food insecure across the Lake Chad basin saying that the number is expected to rise to 5.8 million by June this year.
Speaking during the Security Council briefing from Monrovia on Boko haram and the situation in the Lake Chad Basin, she disclosed that 2.3 million people including 1.5 million children were forcibly displaced from their homes.
She noted that United Nations is supporting the African Union and the Lake Chad basin commission in developing a stabilization, recovery and resilience strategy for the region in line with Security Council resolution 2349.
Mohammed pointed out that the special representatives of the secretary-general for Central Africa, West Africa and the Sahel continued their efforts in close partnership with the Economic Community for Central African States, the Economic Community for West African States and the Lake Chad basin commission to address the root causes of the crisis.
She regretted that violations of human rights continued to fuel insecurity in the Lake Chad basin.
The UN DSG stated that investments in strengthening community justice mechanisms would be essential for promoting reconciliation, ensuring accountability and sustaining peace in the region.
She added that UN accepted the recruitment of three African Union/Lake Chad Basin Commission human rights officers as part of the civilian component of the multi-national force.
Mohammed thanked the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria for their continued cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the framework of the tripartite agreement even as she encouraged all affected states to fully implement the 2016 Abuja action statement.
According to her, “Humanitarian assistance has scaled up considerably and reached more than six million people in 2017”.
She said though food security has improved in north-east where a famine was averted last year that the progress is fragile noting that the scale-up assistance took place in an extremely volatile environment.
The DSG recalled that on 1st March this year that three aid workers were killed in Rann, Borno state following an attack by suspected boko haram insurgents regretting that three others are still missing, a situation that forced UN to temporarily suspend humanitarian.
Mohammed said that about $1.6 billion would be required to assist 7.8 million people in the four countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, just as she enjoined member states to ensure that the humanitarian appeal is well-funded and that pledges are disbursed promptly.
She lamented that insurgency led to massive destruction of basic infrastructure, health and educational facilities, commercial buildings, private houses and agricultural assets.
She said: “Along with the impacts of violent extremism, under-development, demographic shifts and climate change, we can see another powerful example of a complex, multi-dimensional situation that requires an integrated approach to address the humanitarian and development challenges and the links to peace”.
Mohammed disclosed that UN would continuously support governments in creating livelihoods, strengthening institutions, building community resilience and taking other steps to address the root causes of the crisis.
She emphassied that national and local non-governmental organizations as well as faith-based organizations have an invaluable role to play in efforts to prevent extremism.
The UN DSG was optimistic that restoring Lake Chad would improve livelihoods for millions of people, reduce local tensions and foster regional integration and development.
She hinted that the international conference on Lake Chad which took place in Abuja and the adoption of the deliberations named Abuja Declaration reaffirmed the region’s commitment to increase cooperation to address the socio-economic impact of climate change and instability in the Sahel, West Africa and Lake Chad region.
Mohammed noted that the visit by the AU Peace and Security Council in July 2017 to the region further highlighted the challenges faced by the Joint Multinational Task Force (JMTF).
She was hopeful that sustained international financial and technical support for the JMTF remained crucial to protect the fragile progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
The former minister of environment assured that UN would continue to address these complex challenges in close cooperation with the affected countries and all relevant sub-regional organizations, in line with Security Council resolution 2349.
“We should also recognize that security measures and military operations have proven their limits and there will be no sustaining peace without sustainable development; and development gains will always be at risk without lasting peace”, she added.
She called on the region to join forces with the UN to end the insurgency that has led to immense suffering with serious consequences beyond its borders.