UN partners Nigerian private sector to raise $80m for North-east crisis

The European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]
The European Union (EU) headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]

The United Nations is seeking to partner with Nigeria’s private sector to raise over $80 million to support ongoing humanitarian intervention in the North-east part of the country.

Working under the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI) launched in February 2017, a committee headed by the chairperson of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Ibukun Awosika, targets $80 million (approx. N29 billion) as support.

This funding is in addition to the over $90 million that was donated to the initiative by 17 donor countries last year.

The NHF-PSI is described as “a ground-breaking global initiative” created in Nigeria and managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on behalf of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.

As the protracted crisis continues, Nigeria’s private sector is stepping into the realm of humanitarian response and has pledged to contribute resources.

It also seeks to identify collaborative avenues to address the humanitarian needs of more the 7.1 million people in need across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

“The Nigerian Humanitarian Fund Private Sector Initiative is an innovative platform to foster effective collaboration between the UN, the Government of Nigeria and leading Nigerian business,” says Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria.

The NHFPSI team, co-chaired by Kyari Bukar, the former chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit group, paid a visit to the camps for the internally displaced persons in Maiduguri on Tuesday where they had first-hand interaction with the thousands of displaced people.

At the end of their UN-guided tour of the IDP camps, the team paid a courtesy call on the deputy governor of Borno State.

Mrs Awosika said some Nigerian banks are taking the lead in the fundraising, adding that they were united by common solidarity with their fellow Nigerians affected by the ongoing crisis.

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“These are our people, this is our country, and this is our problem,” she said.

“As much as we are getting help from the rest of the world, we must be able to find solutions for our people. As a Nigerian, the people I met here today are our brothers, our sisters and our children, and I don’t wish to see any single one of them living in the conditions we saw here today.”

She also said the visit to the camp had given them more “impetus and the drive to take the situation more seriously than we ever did”.

“Our vision is beyond what our companies can do. Our goal is to get every single Nigerian to own this situation,” she said.

Mr Kallon said he believes in the crucial role Nigeria’s private sector ”has to play in driving forward effective solutions to the humanitarian crisis”.

“We are here today to see how we can work with them to mobilise action and resources to meet the needs of the displaced people in North-east Nigeria,” he said.

A statement issued by the UN-OCHA indicates that Tuesday’s visit by the NHFPSI was the second visit by the private sector to leaders to Borno State.

“The initiative will see Nigerian companies join donor countries in pooling donations and resources together. The platform aims to create a more collaborative and effective response by bringing awareness to the ongoing humanitarian crisis – one of the most severe in the world – which is predominantly affecting women and children.

“14 of Nigeria’s leading companies signed up to the initiative launched in Lagos in November 2018, which will harness their financial resources, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial drive in support of the humanitarian response. The NHF-PSI offers a measurable and accountable platform for companies to pool their resources together to more effectively transform the lives of millions of their fellow Nigerians.

“To date, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has raised $90 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of seventeen donor countries, and aspires to raise $80 million from the private sector. The unique collaboration presents an unprecedented opportunity for Nigerian businesses to lead the way in bringing Nigerians together for Nigeria,” the statement reads.

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