The food crisis summit was convened to fashion ways to stump up funds to prevent a food crisis in the North-East, Nigeria. More than 672 million US dollars to be spread over 3 years has been pledged by 14 countries at the Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in Oslo, Norway.
The fund would help sustain critical relief operations over the next three years and beyond across the four countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, where millions are in need of aid.
In the North East of Nigeria, 26 million people have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and 10.7 people have been identified by the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) as needing life-saving assistance.
The Conference is Co-hosted by the Norwegian, Nigerian and German governments and the UN – will bolster relief efforts in the next three years.
The summit’s host country, Norway, led efforts by pledging $192m of the $672m promised by international donors for the next three years and organisers said further contributions are expected later this year from the United States and United Kingdom. While this year’s global humanitarian appeal for Nigeria – at present 1.8% funded – is at an early stage, last year’s appeal is only a little more than 50% funded. The UN and humanitarian agencies say $1.5 billion is needed to cater for about five million people.
The conference is aim for a total rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North East region of Nigeria, whose people and livelihood, mainly agrarian, have been destroyed by long activities of Boko Haram terrorists.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), one of the UN agencies attending the conference, underscored that the humanitarian response efforts to Boko Haram devastation should enable the people to return to a dignified life.
Director of FAO Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Dominique Burgeon, in his presentation at the conference at the Norwegian capital, also states that aid assistance should focus on providing relief from the looming famine in the region, “Supporting agriculture is the key to both,” he highlighted, noting that supporting farmers to cultivate food would help free many from being trapped in cycles of severe hunger.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its presentation at the conference also underscored the need to address a public health crisis in the region.
Director of WHO Emergency Operations, Dr Rick Brennan in presentation, highlighted that the crisis in the region is also a public health crisis.
That “With the rates of death, malnutrition and disease rarely seen over the past 20 years”.
The WHO official explained that “between malnutrition and death, there is always disease. That “Malnutrition lowers the body’s capacity to fight infection. That “A malnourished child is far more prone to contract an infectious disease such as pneumonia, diarrhea and measles and then to die from that disease,”.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nigeria Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, expressed deep pleasure on the convening of World leaders in Oslo, Norway, which saw donors pledging $672 to tackle food crisis in the north east for the next three years.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan on Saturday, he is heartened by the initiative and collective will of spirited leaders and donors across the world to tackle food crisis in the North East.
He said “This is a welcome development and I will use this medium to once again reiterate our call for the convocation of a bigger Donor Summit that will see to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the region”. On our part, as a Legislature and Government, we owe a duty to the international Community to set up solid and permanent legal framework to manage the resources donated or contributed for the development of the North East.”
Also, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said no donation would be taken for granted, according to a statement by the Minister’s media aide, Sarah Sandra. According to Onyeama, the sheer magnitude of the humanitarian crisis which cuts across Nigeria and countries contiguous to the Lake Chad area is today one of the largest and gravest humanitarian crisis in the world. Onyeama, however, blamed the crises on poverty, underdevelopment and high population pressure, which, he said, must be addressed.
The Minister, who expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to the donors, said the donations came at a time the country is experiencing fiscal constraints as the economy has plunged into a recession in the midst of costly military operation against Boko Haram.
The Minister also said that the Federal Government will commit a significant share of the 2017 budget to confront the security and humanitarian situation arising from the Boko Haram terrorism, Onyeama made the remarks at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, according to a statement by the Office of the UN Secretary-General.