Contrary to the statement credited to him as accusing agencies of the United Nations in the country of underperformance and misuse of funds, while exploiting the humanitarian conditions in the North East region, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State people of the state, on Thursday, expressed immense appreciation of the work the various agencies are doing in the state.
Expressing profound regret over the statements attributed to him in the media, the governor said he remain grateful to the UN for all the support Borno continues to receive and looked forward to even stronger partnership going forward.
Speaking during a meeting in his office in Maiduguri with UN Nigeria Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator who is also UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Kallon, he said: “The people of Borno State remain eternally indebted to you the UN family.”
The statement also quoted Kallon as recalling that at the meeting, both the UN and the state government promised to establish a common platform for information sharing.
This, it is believed, would ensure the parties speak with one voice, ensuring that their pleas become stronger and more effect, even as the UNDP chief the governor of support in addressing the immediate humanitarian challenges and meeting long term development needs for people of Borno State.
The governor assured that “the ongoing humanitarian work is helping hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of support, the burden is only becoming heavier as more Local Government Areas (LGAs) become liberated from the control of Boko Haram. He therefore requested for urgent and scaled up support directed towards these newly liberated areas.
“The governor also highlighted that people in IDP camps and host communities are lacking a lot of basic suppliers on a daily basis. He added that beyond the disruption of livelihoods, his State had suffered extensive damage to property and infrastructure including schools, hospitals, market places across all LGAs,” assuring that with support from the Federal Government and development partners, his administration has begun to rebuild the state.
Such interventions and support, he acknowledged, have come in the areas of water and sanitation, skills training, distribution of food items including farming inputs, and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure as some of the commendable work that the various Humanitarian actors on the ground are doing.
While lamenting that such intervention are helping people of the state recover from the effects of the over five-year long conflict, he call for continued support of the UN and other humanitarian agencies at a time the crisis in the region continues to attract the least attention globally.
He stressed the importance of his capital Maiduguri as one of the most strategically located cities in Nigeria through which goods could be transported to neighbouring countries.
Kallon also recalled that at the meeting, he reaffirmed the UN’s “commitment to continuing with our support to his State and people. With about 2 million people still displaced, thousands of children at risk of malnutrition, hundreds of thousands in urgent need of food and many more still facing the risk of attack from the insurgent group, we as a UN have an obligation to remain present on the ground and provide the much needed support to the people in the State.
“I mentioned to him that while doing so, the UN in Nigeria was alive to the fact that our support may not reach all the communities in need of urgent help. We are also alive to the fact that we have a responsibility to remain accountable to our generous partners who entrust us with financial resources that enable us to do our work. To this end, we continue reaching out to our partners and the International Community for more support,” even as he noted the need to remain accountable for all donations received from the donors and funding partners.
“We have a huge responsibility in helping the government respond to and address this huge humanitarian crisis in the country; we know the extent of this crisis and the damage it has caused on the country as a whole as the region in particular. People are in need of urgent support, and we will not relent in our commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind in providing this support.”
Kallon noted that while rallying the international community behind Nigeria and mobilizing additional resources, there is need for the State and Federal Governments to “accurately highlighting the extent of the crisis, the support deficit and results of our ongoing interventions.”