UN, private sector initiative to raise over $300m for IDPs in north east
The United Nations and Nigeria’s business leaders yesterday launched the first Nigerian Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI) that would raise over $300 million to support internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in the north east.
Speaking at the event, the group chief executive, Oando Plc, Adewale Tinubu, said that the private sector was taking a cue from the 12 countries that contributed $70 million to support displaced persons in Nigeria.
“About 1.7 million people are displaced in Nigeria, mostly women and children. They need our help and support. This platform will enable us to cooperate with the government to support this UN’s great initiative in our country,” he said.
In his address, the UN resident/humanitarian coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Edward Kallon, described the NHF-PSI as a simple funding mechanism to create a more effective platform and solve humanitarian crisis in the north east.
He noted that until the launch of the initiative, government had been the only source of support for the displaced Nigerians.
“The experience of displacement and terror makes millions of people in the north east to depend on humanitarian assistance to stay alive. The private sector has a pivotal role to play in solving the crisis,” he stated.
Founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, stressed that support to the cause should not be a concern of businessmen alone, but all Nigerians.
He said: “If 12 countries could come together to contribute $70 million for IDPs in Nigeria, what are we all doing?”
While commending Dangote Foundation for continuous support to IDPs, Ovia said that about 1.9 million IDPs live in Borno State alone.
He called on non-governmental organisations and individuals to support the initiative.
The forum brought together, politicians, corporate organisations, legislators, traditional rulers, and members of the diplomatic corps.