UN commends Nigerian president for COVID-19 response

The United Nations in Nigeria has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership and guidance in the response to COVID-10 pandemic in Nigeria.

“We commend your wisdom in establishing the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and adding your voice in the global call for a people’s vaccine for Corona Virus, so that it does not become a vaccine for the rich and powerful alone, but for all humanity.”

The UN Resident-Coordinator Edward Kallon had said during a meeting of the UN Country Team with the President held on Monday 24 August 2020, at the State House Abuja.

COVID 19, according to Mr Kallon, has been likened to an x-ray that has revealed fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built. “It has laid bare risks including inadequate health systems, gaps in social protection, structural inequalities, environmental degradation and the climate crisis.”

The Resident Coordinator therefore called for everyone to work together to find innovative solutions to turn this human tragedy into a generational opportunity to build back better a more equal and sustainable world.

On the lingering humanitarian challenges in the North-East, Mr Kallon acknowledged that there are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems. The only solution to the conflict in northeast Nigeria is peace and we must prioritize prevention, development where feasible and humanitarian assistance when needed to find lasting and durable solutions. He highlighted the need for dialogue and a political process to complement the military efforts in the new national security strategy.

“The affected people especially the 1.2 million IDPs and over 293,000 refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon must be supported in every way possible to improve IDP sites and shelter, basic services, protection and decongestion and dignified voluntary return to places they will have access to basic services and security.” He said,  “There is an urgent need to look at the issue of outstanding Tripartite Agreements with the Nigerian-Refugee Hosting countries and develop a National Framework to guide action on IDPs at state level in line with protocols agreed at the Kampala Convention.”

Mr Kallon further commended the President for his continuous support in advancing gender issues and the girl child and the Rights of the Child in general and assured that UN agencies and programs are increasing their capacity to support when needed. “Women are a treasure to the nation – we need to give them a prominent place in the public affairs of the country. We need to deal with the negative forces of Gender-Based Violence, rape and disempowerment that adversely affect women and put robust mechanisms in place so these women will have access to justice.” He added.

Responding, President Buhari reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Nigeria to supporting the United Nations system in the country. He noted that he was impressed by the number of programmes being implemented by the UN in Nigeria and urged the organisation not to hesitate in reaching out for additional support by the government.

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