By Hamza Suleiman
Gov. Kashim Shettima on Wednesday commended the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) for sustaining its humanitarian support towards rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast.
Shettima made the commendation when the Executive Director of the UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Oshotimehin, visited him in Maiduguri.
The governor said: “We want to thank you for your support on health care, reproductive health, population growth and your humanitarian concern for the people of Borno.
“We appreciate you, we commend you and we celebrate you.
“A recent World Bank peace building assessment showed that about 9 billion U.S. dollars worth of properties was destroyed by Boko Haram and Borno suffered about 6.7 billion dollars worth of destruction.
“About 201 primary and secondary healthcare facilities were completely destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents, while about 665 municipal buildings, including police stations and offices across the 17 local government areas were also destroyed by Boko Haram.
“Your Excellency, I am sure one of your concerns is the girl child education; the girl child education is one area of great concern to us too.
“We are passionate about the girl child education because presently about 62 million girls are out of school.
“So we want you to assist us in the area of girl child empowerment.”
Oshotimehin had earlier pledged to sustain the humanitarian support to the government of Nigeria in order to restore normalcy and security to the North East.
“We are the only agency, UNFPA that is actively taking deliveries in the IDPs; we are taking care of women already and we are going to continue doing what we are supposed to do.
“Of course, now that we are building resilience for the communities, we have to ensure that indigenes have facilities like the antenatal care.
“On the issue of empowerment, we will ensure that we work with the state government to ensure that the people get back to their livelihood.
“One thing that is very critical is the issue of girl child education; it is so critical because that is when we can actually achieve the needed change,” Oshotimehin said.
However, he advised the governor to intensify efforts to educate the girl child in order to build societies and communities.
The UNFPA boss pledged that the organisation would work with the Borno government to assist women to space their births.
“We must work with governments and we must respect governments; we as the United Nations must have that synergy and work with other colleagues so that we can achieve effective response in Borno State.
“We will stand solidly by you and we will support you in every possible way because we are determined to give optimal services to the IDPs,” Oshotimehin emphasised.