Today, the Nigerian nation is embroiled in a myriad of crisis ranging from poverty to insecurity, economic dysfunction, unemployment figures of titanic proportion, broken down public infrastructure and institutions, lethargic sense of nationalism amongst the citizens, basic distrust and suspicion amongst the federating units, terrible international image, and so on and so forth.
Why was the Buhari Administration NOT interested in participating in a high level United Nations meeting to provide solution to Boko Haram, despite being in the UN when the meeting was being held?
PREMIUM TIMES Reports:
Contrary to claims by the Nigerian presidency that a meeting at the 70th United Nations General Assembly to discuss the humanitarian crisis posed by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group was unofficial, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today that the meeting is a “high-level” one convened as one of the most important events of the ongoing United Nations annual summit in New York.
The meeting tagged “High Level Event on the Lake Chad Basin” held Friday at the Conference Room 1 of the United Nations headquarters in New York.
It was convened by Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and held as part of the of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, which opened Friday.
“The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, is an arm of the United Nations secretariat and a meeting organized by it on an issue threatening Nigeria’s existence cannot be described as unofficial,” said a respected Nigerian diplomat who requested not to be named so as not to anger the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The diplomat believes President Buhari should request Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Joy Ogwu, to explain why her office failed to identify the meeting as one of the key ones Nigeria should have attended at the ongoing summit.
“This is definitely a diplomatic blunder,” the diplomat said. “It portrayed us as an unserious country and the President should bring culpable officials to book rather than offer tepid excuses.”
Reuters was first to report the Nigeria’s non attendance at the meeting convened to principally discuss an issue affecting Nigeria the most.
“But while the radical Islamist militants operate out of Nigeria and U.N. aid chief Stephen O’Brien said that is where most people have been displaced by their attacks, Nigeria did not send anyone to the United Nations event,” Reuters reported. “U.S. and European Union diplomats said they were disappointed that Nigeria did not attend the event chaired by O’Brien on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.”
The Nigerian presidency, in a statement Saturday, however, claimed that “The meeting at which Nigeria was reportedly absent was not one of the official events of the United Nations for which President Muhammadu Buhari and his modest delegation are in New York”.
But contrary to attempts by the government to downplay the importance of the meeting and portray it as low level engagement, organisers and diplomats say the gathering was one of the most important meetings concerning the destructive militancy and terrorism ravaging Nigeria and its neighbours.
Aside top UN and EU officials, as well as heads of international nongovernmental organisations who participated, the meeting was also attended by the Prime Minister of Niger, Brigi Rafini and Chad’s Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
A brochure of the meeting listed “High level representation from the government of Nigeria” among the panelists expected to speak at the meeting.
Due to its importance, the meeting was also broadcast on official UN online television and radio channels.
At the meeting, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. O’Brien reminded the world to pay attention to the Lake Chad Basin, now an epicentre of “violence and terror” where children as young as six-years old have been used as suicide bombers and the scene of the fastest-growing displacement crisis in Africa.
“A quarter of a million people have fled across borders,” told the high-level meeting. “Many have walked hundreds of kilometres from Nigeria to Cameroon, Chad and Niger, in the most appalling conditions.”
Mr. O’Brien, appealed to countries in the region to give relief workers access to those in need and also called for urgent financial contributions to the under-funded operations.
“If we disregard the huge scale of humanitarian needs, we could all pay a high price,” he said.
Describing the people in the Lake Chad Basin, which straddles Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as “some of the poorest and most resilient in the world,” the top UN humanitarian official said “now the region has also become an epicentre of violence and terror.”
“The emergence of Boko Haram has pushed them over the edge,” he said. “Over the past five months, a sharp increase in attacks by Boko Haram has uprooted 500,000 children, bringing the total number of children on the run in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries to over 1.4 million.”
He described the “appalling impact on women and children, who are being abducted, abused, raped, exploited, trafficked, and forced to work as porters and lookouts,” and “children as young as six years old have been used as suicide bombers.”
“With so many other humanitarian crises on the international agenda, we hear relatively little about the horrors taking place in the Lake Chad Basin,” he said. “And yet this is the scene of the fastest-growing displacement crisis in Africa, with 2.3 million people forced from their homes since May 2013.”
Mr. O’Brien warned that the future of the region, where business activity is reportedly down by 80 percent, “looks even bleaker, as farmers are unable to tend their fields and trade in some areas is at a standstill.”
UN agencies like the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency and the UN Children’s Programme (UNICEF) echoed Mr. O’Brien in presenting a grim humanitarian picture of the region and appealing for greater international support to their efforts to reach those in desperate need.
As a fallout of the meeting the Nigerian government dismissed as “unofficial”, the United States announced $6.8 million in funding for regional aid efforts....
Internally Displaced Persons, who have found shelter and education at the Christian home for the needy managed by the International Christian Centre in Edo State, have rejected a government plan to relocate them to Kano and Jigawa.
They said the Federal Government should bring the help it intended to render to them to Benin City, as they were not willing to move.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) took the decision when about 40 buses arrived the camp accompanied by security officials, with an instruction to relocate them from Edo State to the north.
“Right To Live Wherever We Choose”
The news stirred an uproar in the centre, followed by weeping while some of the IDPS fainted.
They said they are comfortable in the centre and asked the security officials to leave them.
“Let them help those that are still suffering. Those hiding in the mountains. We that have been rescued should be left here. They should bring the help to us here,” one of the IDPs said.
“We are Nigerians and we have the right to live wherever we choose to live,” another said.
Over 1,400 Internally Displaced Persons are in Edo State housed in an IDPs camp in Uhogua camp in Benin City in south-south Nigeria.
Most of the persons at the camp are children numbering over 900 with the youngest said to be four months old.
Channels Television’s correspondent in Edo State, Peter Okonkwo, said a team of Nigeria Police , Civil Defence and Department of State Security arrived at the camp around 9:00am local time.
Addressing reporters after the IDPs voiced their displeasure with the plan, the Edo State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Maimuna Momodu, said she was not aware of the plan to relocate the IDPs even though the security team told her that the instruction was from the Presidency.
The IDPs have escaped from the volatile north-east where Boko Haram terrorists have sustained attacks on communities for over five years and they said they were not willing to go back to the north-east where they have been deprived of their freedom of movement and of their studies.
Counter-terrorism operations have been on to contain their activities.
Kano extends monthly sanitation to Sundays
By NAN on June 27, 2015
The Kano State Government on Saturday announced the extension of its monthly environmental sanitation to Sunday.
The state Commissioner for Environment, Dr Ali Makoda, disclosed this to journalists on Saturday, shortly after monitoring exercise for the month of June.
Makoda said the population of Kano, in addition to the rainy season, made it necessary for the extension to enable people to properly clean their surroundings and drainage.
The commissioner commended the people of the state for their level of compliance during the exercise and implored them to continue with the attitude.
He, however, restated the new administration’s desire to ensure a cleaner and a healthier environment, adding that this would only be achieved with the support of the citizenry.
He said his ministry would liaise with some local government councils on how to improve sanitation in their areas.
The commissioner visited all the metropolitan Local Government Areas in Kano, including Ungogo Local government Area.
NAN reports that there was no arrest with regards to non- compliance to exercise for the month of June