Nigeria to tackle humanitarian crises

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Budget and Planning on 2017 budget
Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Budget and Planning on Crises

By-Oluwafunke Ishola

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to improve the quality of lives of Nigerians through speedy end to the humanitarian crises in the country.

Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, said this during a Partnership Development Roundtable in Lagos on Sunday.

The programme was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Ahmed said that the government was ready to deal swiftly and decisively with the urgent humanitarian crisis in the North-East part of the country.

“The crisis is recognised as one of the worst emergencies on the African continent at this time.

“By presidential executive order, the ministry of Budget and Planning has been assigned the responsibility for coordinating a humanitarian response under an inter-ministerial task force.

“The task force and the ministry are working in partnership with the United Nations (UN) and other international agencies to ensure that these crises do not become protracted,” Ahmed said.

According to her, the advent of Boko Haram crisis, ethnic dispute, corruption and intolerance, among others, have increased the humanitarian needs in the country.

The minister said that the government, in partnership with the private sector, needed to respond to the urgent challenges of illiteracy, poverty and assistance to victims of crisis in the country.

“We all need to join hands to help the weak among us, the poor and the vulnerable that are living in our midst.

“The challenge is great but not insurmountable; government is determined to stop this crisis in its track but cannot do it alone,” the minister said.

Mr Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC, said there was a need to deepen partnership between humanitarian society and the private sector, to develop targeted products and responses for people affected by war.

“There are innumerable opportunities for humanitarians and businesses to work together, from healthcare and technology to pharmaceutical and financial services.

“I believe that Nigeria has all it takes to find answers to the huge humanitarian challenges in this country.

Beyond that the corporate business has a major role to play in this quest,” Maurer said.

Mrs Nike Akande, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said it was imperative for the business community to improve its participation and engagement in the humanitarian space.

“It is in our enlightened self-interest to do so. It is a win-win proposition.

“As businesses, we need an environment that is socially and economically stable to do business. We also need the market. All these will not happen in the midst of humanitarian crises.’’

“Therefore, commitment to fixing the humanitarian problems and the prosperity of our businesses are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

”If anything, they are mutually supportive,” Akande said.

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