The UN System in Nigeria, alongside partner NGOs are collectively appealing for 1.08 billion dollars to provide urgent aid to 7.8 million vulnerable people in Nigeria’s North East.
The UN says the funding needed was less than 12 dollars a month to save someone’s life.
Mr Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, made the appeal on Thursday, during a high-level virtual meeting on Nigeria’s humanitarian response with the theme “North-East Nigeria: Act now, Avert the Worst”.
Kallon said the urgent appeal was necessitated, following a resurgence in violence that continued to ravage communities and the extraordinary challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, a global health crisis no country was adequately prepared for.
He added that the steep rise in prices, as well as movement restrictions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused insufferable shocks.
The UN Envoy further noted that an estimated 4.3 million people were now facing food insecurity at crisis or emergency levels and that increased food insecurity would lead to higher levels of malnutrition.
Kallon said that without immediate support, one out of five malnourished children could die without treatment.
“Despite tremendous efforts by the humanitarian community to feed over 2.5 million people, violent attacks continue, preventing people from reaching their lands and rebuilding their livelihoods.
“Every year of the crisis, an additional one million people have become food insecure.
“Children and women, in particular, are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prevention measures, such as lockdowns, physical distancing, and school closures are impeding education, jeopardising the future of 4.2 million children.
“Protection concerns are paramount, and the risks of exploitation, domestic violence and abuse are higher than ever, for women, boys and girls.
“At the same time as we are fighting the pandemic, I have been shocked, saddened and outraged by the brutal attacks targeting civilians, including aid workers, in recent weeks.
“Incidents in which villages have been brutally attacked, houses and property set ablaze, and people burnt alive.
“Today, 1.9 million people remain internally displaced in the BAY states. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 60,000 people were forced to flee their homes, some for the second or third time.
“More than a third of these are sleeping out in the open,” Kallon said.
Kallon said funding for the humanitarian operation is at a historic low, explaining that with more than half-way through the year, aid organisations received less than a third of funds needed to provide life-saving assistance to nearly eight million people.
He said now is the time for all stakeholders to take coordinated action, sustained by sufficient resources.
Kallon said the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating and its destabilising effects would be distressing Nigeria’s most fragile region, stressing that unless action was taken now, the country should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and destitution in the north-east.
He added that community transmission of COVID-19 is of grave concern and urgent actions must be taken to prevent the virus from taking hold in IDPs’ camps.
He noted that four out of five people in these camps lived in overcrowded conditions, with makeshift and temporary shelters – built in close proximity to each other, making physical distancing impossible.
According to him, while it is a priority for IDPs to be able to return home, unfortunately the persistent insecurity may not yet present conducive conditions for safe, voluntary and dignified returns.
According to Kallon, the hard-won efforts of the UN and partners a few years ago is now in jeopardy, explaining that previous rapid joint mobilisations succeeded in reversing a situation where hundreds of thousands of people were on the verge of famine.
He said that not only was famine averted, but many people who had seen their lives shattered by the conflict, were starting to rebuild their lives and communities. There were hopes that we had turned a corner and we could start focusing on recovery and development
Also speaking, Mr Peter Hawkins, Country Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, said children, especially those in camps, remained one of the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 pandemic as they were out school with no access to immunisation.
“We will not want to walk out of a pandemic with children dying of measles and infected with polio,” Hawkins said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Ebonyi bus accident: FRSC, Police confirm 3 more bodies retrieved from river
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ebonyi has confirmed the recovery of three more corpses from the Akeze-Ukwu River after a Mercedes 608-model bus plunged into the river on Sept.18.
The News Agency of Nigeria , recalls that the bus conveying members of a Church who attended their pastor’s burial was returning to Enugu when the accident occurred.
The bus driver was said to have lost control of the vehicle while trying to overtake an articulated vehicle on the bridge.
Uchegbu said that the corps sent its personnel to the hospital, where some rescued victims were being treated, to interact with doctors on the true reports concerning the ‘unfortunate’ incident.
“We have been getting conflicting reports on the casualties so we sent our personnel to the hospital to interact with the doctors handling the cases.
“We were able to ascertain that seven persons were actually rescued from the river on the day of the incident instead of five earlier reported.
“One person was confirmed dead, two persons are presently on admission, two have been officially discharged while two opted to return home having sustained no injuries from the incident,” she said.
Ughegbu said that with the 14 corpses retrieved from the river on the second day of the rescue operations and the three other corpses retrieved on Sunday, the total number of retrieval is 24.
According to her, the total number of dead victims is now 18.
Also, the Ebonyi command of the Nigerian Police Force confirmed in a stateement the retrieval of three more corpses on Sunday, adding that a retired police officer was among the deceased persons.
“Efforts are still on to recover the remaining 10 persons,” it stated.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Donald Ugwu
Gov. Matawalle eulogises late Emirs of Biu, Zazzau
Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has described as “commendable” the roles played by the late Emir of Biu, Borno state and Emir of Zazzau in Kaduna state.
This is contained in a statement by Yusuf Idris, the Director-General of Media, Public Enlightenment and Communication to the governor in Gusau on Sunday.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Emir of Biu, Mai Umar Mustapha the 28th emir, died at the age of 80 years at the Federal Medical Centre, Gombe on the 15th of September, after serving on the throne for 31 years.
The Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, who was emir for 45 years as the 18th emir, also died at the age of 84 years at the 44 Hospital, Kaduna on Sunday, the 20th of September after a brief illness.
According to Matawalle’s media aide, the governor, particularly commended the significant roles played by the two mornarchs in ensuring the indivisibility of Nigeria, and their great contributions in finding lasting solutions to acts of terrorism and banditry during their historic reigns.
Matawalle said the duo would be remembered for their patience, honesty, sincerity and preaching of peace and unity in Nigeria.
He said, “Allah, Who is the All Knowing, knows best why He chose these trying times to take away the royal fathers from our sinful world.”
The governor prayed that Allah in His endless mercies hosts the departed souls of the two great rulers in Jannatul Firdaus, grant the people and governments of the two states the fortitude to bear the loss and continue to bless members of the families left by the natural rulers.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Atiku Support Groups congratulate Obaseki
The All Atiku Support Groups (ASGs), has congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as the governor of Edo on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group Chairman, Mr Fabiyi Oladimeji, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja said Obaseki’s convincing victory was due to the resilience and steadfastness of the people of Edo State who did not give room for any manipulation by undemocratic forces.
“Nothing can be more dignifying than the stance and resolve of the good people of Edo for what they truly believed in.
“The good people of Edo state have demonstrated dexterity and spoken very loudly against god fatherism, against arrogance in power just as they have voted for progress and prosperity.”
Oladimeji commended the courage of Obaseki, his deputy, the State campaign council under the leadership of Chief Dan Orbih and all leaders of note in Edo State, Oladimeji said.
He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for maintaining neutrality in the election.
“We understand there cannot be perfection in any electoral process, but INEC by its conduct in the just concluded Edo election has shown that it is possible if we all decided to do what is right.”
Oladimeji said that the group would not take the role played by the security agencies in ensuring the smooth running of the elections for granted.
He said that although there was a full contingent of officers of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies on ground, no recorded cases of intimidation or harassment of voters were recorded during the election.
He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the good people of Edo to have their say and way.
“Democratic process demands that people should be allowed to freely elect their choices, as democracy is all about the people.”
Oladimeji commended the doggedness of the Chairman, PDP National Campaign Council, Gov. Nyesom Wike, his Colleagues, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and all the National campaign council.
He also commended Atiku Abubakar for his timely intervention and support, as well as the Edo State Chapter of ASGs for mobilising voters for Obaseki’s re-election.
Oladimeji appealed to all stakeholders in the PDP to embrace the same strategy adopted and apply same during the upcoming Ondo Governorship election, Lagos senatorial by-election and Anambra governorship election.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Edo 2020: Gov. Wike lauds INEC, Police
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Nigeria Police Force on their conduct during the Edo Governorship Election.
Wike, who is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council, made the commendation while addressing a large crowd of party supporters at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa on Sunday.
He stated that the conduct of INEC and the Police showed that they were ready to correct the mistakes of the past.
The Governor also commended the people of Edo “for ending godfatherism with the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki’’.
“With the re-election of Governor Obaseki, the entire South-South Region is now completely PDP.
“What this means is that the entire South-South can now speak with one voice on issues concerning us,’’ he said.
Wike thanked the people of Rivers for their prayers, which led to Obaseki’s victory in Edo.
Similarly, at a brief reception by PDP leaders at Government House, Port Hsrcourt, Wike said that with the Edo victory “there is hope’’ for the country’s democracy.
According to him, the neutrality of the electoral body and security agencies will make one to say the election was free and fair.
He thanked the Party Leaders for their solidarity throughout the election period and urged them to maintain the spirit.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Elders Advisory Council of the PDP, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, commended Gov. Wike for leading a successful campaign.
Alabraba said the victory in Edo had proved that Wike “is always committed to any assignment given to him’’.
Edited By: Felix Ajide