Statement attributed to UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, following meeting with Borno State GovernorJan 12, 2017
This afternoon, I met with the Governor of Borno State, H.E Kashim Shettima at his office here in Maiduguri. During our meeting, the Governor and I exchanged a lot of ideas and important information on the ongoing humanitarian work in his State.
His Excellency expressed his immense appreciation of the work the various humanitarian actors are doing in Borno. He also stated that while the ongoing humanitarian work is helping hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of support, the burden is only becoming heavier as more Local Government Areas (LGAs) become liberated from the control of Boko Haram. He therefore requested for urgent and scaled up support directed towards these newly liberated areas.
The Governor also highlighted that people in IDP camps and host communities are lacking a lot of basic suppliers on a daily basis. He added that beyond the disruption of livelihoods, his State had suffered extensive damage to property and infrastructure including schools, hospitals, market places across all LGAs. H.E informed me that, with support from the Federal Government and partners, work has begun to rebuild Borno State.
During the meeting, the Governor cited interventions and support in the areas of water and sanitation, skills training, distribution of food items including farming inputs, and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure as some of the commendable work that the various Humanitarian actors on the ground are doing. These are helping his people recover from the effects of the 5+ yearlong conflict.
The governor sought the continued support of the UN and other humanitarian in his State stating that the crisis in the region was still attracting the least attention globally. He stressed the importance of his capital Maiduguri as one of the most strategically located cities in Nigeria through which goods could be transported to neighbouring countries.
His excellency expressed his profound regret over the statements attributed to him in the media adding that he remained grateful to the UN for all the support his State continues to receive and looked forward to even stronger partnership going forward. “The people of Borno State remain eternally indebted to you the UN family”, His Excellency added.
I, on the other hand, reaffirmed the UN commitment to continuing with our support to his State and people. With about 2 million people still displaced, thousands of children at risk of malnutrition, hundreds of thousands in urgent need of food and many more still facing the risk of attack from the insurgent group, we as a UN have an obligation to remain present on the ground and provide the much needed support to the people in the State.
I mentioned to him that while doing so, the UN in Nigeria was alive to the fact that our support may not reach all the communities in need of urgent help. We are also alive to the fact that we have a responsibility to remain accountable to our generous partners who entrust us with financial resources that enable us to do our work. To this end, we continue reaching out to our partners and the International Community for more support.
None of the resources being received is used for anything else other than what they are intended for; we account for every Naira and every Kobbo we receive because it is in the best interest of both our funding partners and the people the support is intended for.
We have a huge responsibility in helping the government respond to and address this huge humanitarian crisis in the country; we know the extent of this crisis and the damage it has caused on the country as a whole as the region in particular. People are in need of urgent support, and we will not relent in our commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind in providing this support.
I mentioned to His Excellency that, in rallying the International Community behind Nigeria and mobilizing additional resources, we will continue to seek the support of the State and Federal Governments in accurately highlighting the extent of the crisis, the support deficit and results of our ongoing interventions. The more we speak with one voice, the stronger and more effective our pleas will become. His Excellency committed to ensuring that a common platform for sharing information is established in order to achieve this.
I promised the Governor of my support in addressing the immediate humanitarian challenges and meeting long term development needs for people of Borno State.
In presenting my vision for the UN during my tenure in the country, I committed the entire UN system to supporting the Government of Nigeria in addressing the huge humanitarian and development challenges the country continues to face.
Rebuilding Borno will take years, rebuilding the lives of people affected by the insurgency may take even longer; the UN System in the country will remain by the side of the people of Nigeria doing everything possible to ensure this happens soon.