Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The United States government on Thursday announced a donation of $102 million dollars for humanitarian assistance in the North-East states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
The donation was in addition to several other financial and logistical interventions by the US and other countries towards the alleviation of the poor living conditions of people displaced by years of Boko Haram activity in troubled region.
US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, disclosed the information at a meeting organized for officials of Nigerian government and different donor agencies in Abuja, to discuss humanitarian challenges in the northeast.
Symington said the donation was a significant tax contribution of every man and woman in the US, with an understanding that Nigeria occupies a critical position in global socioeconomic discussions.
According to the ambassador: “That was why Nigeria got the largest share of $112 million investment in Africa. The assistance will be administered primarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) offices of Food for Peace (FFP) and Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), as well as the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration.
“We are optimistic that the intervention will complement the effort of Nigerian government to restore hope in the lives of the affected people.
“We know how hard it could be, but we are more committed than ever, to support the Nigerian government in its effort to uplift the living conditions of people in the destroyed communities in the northeast.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, appreciated the intervention and promised that the resources would be used judiciously to rebuild and restore the hopes of the displaced persons.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Prof. Baba Gana Umara, said they have made tremendous progress in the rebuilding of communities destroyed by Boko Haram.
He appreciated the support and commitment of the federal government and state Governor Kashim Shettima in returning displaced persons to their ancestral lands.
As of May 2018, an estimated 2.3 million people in North-East Nigeria experienced acute food shortage, largely due to widespread insecurity, protracted displacement, depleted assets, and the interruption of agricultural production throughout the region.
Overall, an estimated 7.7 million people in the North-East require urgent humanitarian assistance.