The United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for improving humanitarian access in the North-east region.
Lowcock said the Buhari Administration “has taken important steps to improve access to people in need” who are in critical need.
This commendation was coming amidst international concerns on the activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the North-east.
Some international humanitarian non-governmental organisations have been worried over their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in parts of the North-east, because of security concerns especially in some remote areas of Borno State.
Reacting to the Buhari administration’s intervention and new arrangement, Lowcock, during a briefing last week, said: “I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further.”
The UN chief had earlier expressed concern about the unpalatable situation in the North-east.
He said: “In North-east Nigeria, as we told you…violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.”
It would be recalled that in a bid to reverse the trend and ensure effective access to vital food supplies, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, escalated the matter to the Presidency.
The President in turn mandated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to work with the committee, governors in the region and relevant ministries, departments and agencies, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with international concerned organisations and multilateral agencies operating in the region.
The Vice President held series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and organisations.
This intervention led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supported the activities of the non-governmental organisations and offered a more secured access to the areas in question, explained a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.