Government of Japan support initiatives aimed at promoting social cohesion, addressing migration and de-radicalization in North East

Aug 15, 2016

(Statement delivered by interim UNDP Resident Representative Opia Kumah at the launch of the projects in Maiduguri)

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to this event. As you may be aware, we are here to assess progress made towards putting in place monitoring systems for the two projects that will contribute to ongoing efforts by the government of Nigeria, especially in the North Easr region of the country.

The two projects, one to focus on Livelihood and Social Cohesion, while the other on De-radicalization, Counter-Terrorism and Migration both funded by the Government of Japan build upon an earlier Japanese-supported intervention ‘Strengthening the Capacity of West African Peace Support Operation’, which was implemented between 2013 and 2015. This intervention was significant in strengthening Nigeria’s participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.

The projects were launched in April this year and the first Steering Committee meeting was held two months later.

I wish to thank the Borno State Government for hosting this event and for the excellent facilities put at the disposal of participants. Allow me to extend our deep gratitude to His Excellency Sadanobu Kusaokethe, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria for making time to attend this launch amid his busy schedules. The Government of Japan is providing both technical and financial support towards the implementation of the Projects.

Distinguished Guests

Issues of livelihood support and social cohesion are critical to recovery and stabilization in the North-East. As you may be aware, over 2 million people have been internally displaced and critical infrastructure like schools, hospitals, security posts, roads, water and electricity supply facilities have been destroyed. Most local businesses have closed down and what remains of the agriculture sector has stagnated.

More importantly, the fabrics of social cohesion and reconciliation have been ruptured. As many of the IDPs are returning to the liberated communities, there are abundant opportunities for supporting the efforts of the Federal and State Governments, through the Livelihood and Social Cohesion Project - to rebuild damaged infrastructure, revive the agro-allied industries, foster community reconciliation and enhance the capacity of security agencies in civilian protection and peacekeeping.

The second project on de-radicalization is focused on strengthening cooperation and coordination between security agencies, judicial institutions, community and religious leaders, as well as youth and women organization in stemming the tide of violent extremism. The project is currently working with these stakeholders in preventing the recruitment of youths into terrorist networks and in fashioning a certain and sustainable exit-path from extremism to reintegration with their communities. Counter-radical narratives, joint police community platforms, and training programmes for communities and security agencies are being implemented to further strengthen this integrated approach to preventing and addressing the menace of youth radicalization by both state and community stakeholders.

From early feedbacks received from our implementing partners, these Projects are already adding value to the efforts of the government and other partners to facilitate the return of IDPs to their communities and the provision of critical humanitarian needs required for their recovery from conflict. At UNDP, we will continue to work closely with the Implementing Partners and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in ensuring the achievement of the outlined deliverables. The two projects will run till March 2017.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests

Permit me to conclude my address by reiterating UNDP’s sincere gratitude to the Government of Japan for providing USD3 Million seed funding for the implementation of these critical projects. It is my belief that this marks a new chapter in our cooperation in the North-East. While calling on the beneficiary state governments to put additional funds into the project, it is our hope that the invaluable support currently provided by the Government of Japan will extend beyond March 2017.

Thank you for your attention.