4.4million people are food insecure in North East’ says UN
The United Nation Assistant Secretary General, Toby Lanzer has said that 4.4million people in the North Eastern part of the country are food insecure.
While pledging their readiness to assist Nigeria in providing food, clothing and water for the less privileged in the region, Lanzer said an injection of $200million by the international donor community would help feed 431,000 people and keep them alive.
Lanzer who is also the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator said the funds would also help resolve the malnutrition problem of over 50,000 children in the region and ensure that girls and women are protected. He stated this in a press release made available to Journalists in Abuja by the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNOCHA.
Recounting his observations during his visit to Bama, Dikwa, Monguno and Baga Local Government areas of Borno State, Lanzer commended the resilience of the people. He said “I have no doubt that, if the situation were entirely stable and state and private sector investments in the economy were taking place, Borno and Yobe would be thriving. As Fatma, a woman displaced from Baga told me, ‘Make Baga safe, and I’ll take care of the rest’.
“Likewise, the central market in Monguno showed how much people can achieve for themselves and their communities when security reigns and when the civilian structures of the State are in place to ensure a social contract between institutions of the State and the population,” he stated. Lanzer who visited some towns in Borno state during the week lamented that despite the remarkable advances in security and access over the past months, Boko Haram has been sowing instability and threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people of people in the region.
Stating that residents of Monguno has being complaining of their inability to go to farm, he said elders of Dikwa and Monguno highlighted the untold suffering they have endured over the past three years. He lamented, “people feel unsafe, villages have been torched, boys and men have been killed, sisters and daughters have been raped, I am struck by the desperate levels of human suffering on the one hand, and the deep sense of hope and resilience of the people of Borno State on the other”.
The UN Assistant Secretary-General however noted that UN and its partners have the experience needed to work with the authorities in support of people struck by the violence, “we can provide food, clothing and water, we can help get children back into the classroom. Together with the authorities, we can address the issues that punctuate this crisis, we stand ready to act and scale up our response”.
Stressing the need to take urgent action for the poorest and most rural people in the north-east, he warned that failure to act now would result in deeper and broader suffering unlike anything seen to date in Nigeria and a steeper bill for all concerned to alleviate suffering and stabilize the situation.