Dr. Betta Edu (L) and the UN OCHA Deputy Director Operations and Advocacy Division in West and Central Africa and Leader of the delegation, Sofie Gerde Thomie during the courtesy visit.
The Federal government has reiterated the need for proper coordination of humanitarian responses In Nigeria so as to improve results, ensure accountability and reduce duplication.
Already a United Nations (UN) Agency has promised to give a $440 million intervention funds for 2024 to support humanitarian trust fund in Nigeria.
In this regards, the federal government said there is need for all development partners, including the United Nations (UN) agencies providing humanitarian services in Nigeria to be properly coordinated by the government and to make decisions during planning for 2024 based on the priorities of the government.
The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, stated that the era of duplicating humanitarian services and wasting minimal resources in the country was over and “we must stop working in silos and pull together to see how we can effectively use the little resources available to solve humanitarian crises in 2024”.
Edu stated this when she received in audience, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), led by the Deputy Director Operations and Advocacy Division in West and Central Africa from UN Headquarters New York at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.
The Minister said the Nigerian government will henceforth take the lead in humanitarian situation reviews using dashboards and implementation of operations in the country to provide a coordinated response and durable solutions to humanitarian challenges in the country.
She said, “we need to make joint decisions, government must be in the driver’s seat, we don’t want to be informed and communicated to but we must plan together and implement together that way we can hold each other accountable for what goes on in the field.
“The era of duplication of functions and services in the humanitarian space is over. We need to stop working in a silo but integrate and coordinate among all the different development partners in Nigeria”
According to the Minister, “in the last cabinet retreat, performance targets were set for all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government. We must not fail”.
Edu disclosed that her Ministry will be organizing quarterly meetings with all the development partners and agencies rendering services in the humanitarian space. This will help with proper planning and coordination of activities on the field.
The UN, OCHA team and that of the Minister after the courtesy visit.
She explained that there will be a dashboard where the operations of all development partners will be known and seen as well as their impacts on the humanitarian field measured, with a feedback mechanism following proper monitoring and evaluation of programs.
The Minister who commended the efforts of the UN agencies in Nigeria on humanitarian response, pointed out that after the first meeting, which is coming soon, she will go to field assessment operations with all the development partners to enable them to see things for themselves, this she said, was part of the Renewed Hope Agenda.
She again called for immediate deployment of humanitarian services to Benue state, saying the situation there needed urgent attention and immediate action.
Earlier, the UN OCHA Deputy Director Operations and Advocacy Division in West and Central Africa and leader of the delegation, Sofie Gerde Thomie, thanked the Minister for the work she is doing for Nigerians affected by humanitarian crises.
Sofie told the Minister that they came to appreciate President Tinubu’s agenda on humanitarian response and Poverty Alleviation and to further ascertain the humanitarian needs in the Bornu, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states in the Northeast.
“I am here to see the Honourable Minister and to better understand the situation, the latest developments here in Nigeria, and how we work to support the government in addressing humanitarian concerns.
“We have had very good exchanges on the current humanitarian situation and the developments, in particular in the northeast of Nigeria, and the concerns across Nigeria about the many challenges that the humanitarian actors are faced with as well in the efforts that are made to reach people who need assistance and of protection.
“And we’ve had very good discussions around how these challenges can be addressed and how we can work together to be even more effective in what we do in a joined-up manner”.
Speaking specifically on Benue, Sofie said, “we had a very good exchange also about Benue and what can be done in the area and potential support that could be provided. We are, of course, looking at what types of support we can immediately provide to beef up government efforts”.
On his part, the UN OCHA Head of Office in Nigeria, Troud Jensen, explained that the Agency has been providing support to those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno states, noting that despite investing $50 million in nutrition and social services, the IDPs are still in need of humanitarian support.
He stated that OCHA was willing to provide $440 million in 2024 to alleviate the suffering of those affected by humanitarian crises in the BAY states.
“We will provide humanitarian assistance and support the country to mobilize resources, we have plans in the Northeast in areas of nutrition, security, climate change, and provision of shelter.”
He explained that the agency has mapped out funds to support the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund with the intervention of extending the support to other parts of Nigeria and “this year, we have reached out to 3.4 million people in terms of provision of nutrition, shelter, and water.