By Prudence Arobani
Nigeria has developed a $6.7 billion “Buhari Plan of Action’’ for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of Northeast that had been devastated by Boko Haram activities sincd 2009.
Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, unveiled the plan at a side event tagged ‘Strengthening the Humanitarian and Development Partnership in the Lake Chad Region’, at the UN headquarters.
The Nigerian envoy said that the comprehensive socio-economic Plan, known as ‘Buhari Plan’ aimed to advance the humanitarian and development nexus in the country.
Bande said Nigeria was spearheading the event based on the need to promote across board collaboration and cooperation among countries of the Lake Chad region, the donors and a whole range of humanitarian and development partners.
“At our national level, the $6.7 billion Buhari Plan of Action for the comprehensive Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement of the North Eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad represents an ambitious humanitarian cum development initiative on the part of a national government.
“It is to demonstrate its total and unshakable commitment to the socio-economic development of the entire area.
“It is unmistakably true that beyond the current challenges lie numerous prospects for harnessing the capacity of the people and natural endowment of the area to facilitate integrated regional socio-economic development.
“Therefore, the occasion of this side event and its subsequent follow up actions would present opportunity for enhancing the objectives of several initiatives on the Lake Chad such as the All Lake Chad Governors Forum which held its inaugural meeting in Maiduguri, Nigeria in May.
“Also, the Berlin Conference on the Lake Chad has been slated for the first week of September 2018 and would build substantially on the outcomes of the February 2017 Oslo Donors Conference on the Lake Chad.
“I would like to take this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to redouble efforts and commitment towards making the coming Berlin Conference on the Lake Chad of Sept. 3 to 4, 2018 a watershed.
“This is in our collective resolve to further mobilise resources and demonstrate implicit commitment to plans that will ensure moving quickly beyond the immediate humanitarian need to concrete sustainable developmental projects capable of substantially elevating the lives of the majority of people in the region.”
The Nigerian envoy stressed the need for collaboration and cooperation among countries of the Lake Chad, the donors as well as humanitarian and development partners.
According to him, collaboration between the humanitarian and development agencies has gained traction at the UN in recent times such that the involvement of national governments is needed to make it work.
He said the protracted humanitarian and development challenges in the Lake Chad region had place enormous responsibilities on all to remain engaged in discussion aimed at scaling up national, regional and global responses to the crisis.
These responses need to be bolstered by strengthened coordination at the UN level to ensure a more synergised delivery of assistance, the Nigerian envoy emphasised.
“Let me emphasise that the recharge of the Lake Chad Basin, capacity building, and restoration of livelihood, through facilitation of occupational opportunities, job creation, skill acquisition and others are central to finding lasting solution to the problem in the region.
“To realise all these would entail our collective commitment to a broad range of actions, facilitated by strong international cooperation and partnership, involving the UN agencies and development partners, like the World Bank and African Development Bank among others,” Bande said.
Magagi Louan, Minister of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management of the Republic of Niger, said the political leadership from the region were working together to ensure comprehensive response to the crisis in the Lake Chad.
Louan said several mechanisms to address the problem included the institutionalisation of joint security architecture such as the Multinational Joint Task Force and promotion of collaborative social-economic projects under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
Also commenting, Alifei Moustapha, Permanent Representative of Chad to the UN, disclosed that Chadian Government had set up a new coordination mechanism across the ministries to identify local requirements and develop flexible coherent responses to address the Lake Chad problem.
On his part, Michel Monthe, the Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the UN, stated that his country would finance resilience and socio-economic projects and called for response to humanitarian needs while simultaneously reducing risk and vulnerability.
The event, sponsored by Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, UN Development Programme and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also featured presentations by UN Humanitarian Coordinators for the four countries. (NAN)