No fewer than 40,432 citizens drawn across North East and North West of the country have so far benefited from the ECOWAS stabilization fund as well as humanitarian assistance for the Citizens affected by the 2020 flood, in collaboration with Federal Government.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo who confirmed this during the ‘Close out meeting’ of implementation of ECOWAS stabilization fund in the North East and North West of Nigeria and delivery of assistance to the population affected by 2020 flood in Member States.
He disclosed that the projects initiated by the Ministry were successfully implemented by World Food Program (WFP) and Nigeria Red Cross Society (NRCS) and touched many lives in the North East and North West as well as in the other geopolitical zones of the country.
“Specifically, the Humanitarian assistance for flood victims with the objective to provide in-kind assistance of food and non-food items, shelter kits to households, and water sanitation was implemented across the 16 flooded state, namely: Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Anambra. And a total number of flood victims that benefitted from the project both in cash and in kind, were 13,000 persons.
“In the same vein, the stabilization fun project was implemented in six Local Government Areas in the North East and North West respectively, with 27,432 persons impacted across the selected LGAs.”
According to him, the methodology deployed in capturing the vulnerable households who benefitted fom.the initiative includes the poorest of the poor in affected Communities, widows, People living with Disabilities (PWDs), Child Headed Household, Pregnant, and Lactating Mothers, Aged 60 years above, Sick household heads (Bed-ridden), Households with the concentration of children with fewer sources of income, Displaced persons/ people in IDP camps.
While acknowledging that the socio-economic impact of the 2020 flood was devastating and resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods in communities across the six geopolitical zone in Nigeria, he added that the persistent conflict and insecurity concomitant with the frequent insurgency attacks also resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of population, high needs of protection, and deplorable condition of basic services in Nigeria’s North-East and North-West region.
On his part, ECOWAS President Dr. Umar Touray, who was represented by ECOWAS Commission’s Director, Humanitarian & Social Affairs, Sintiki Ugbe, explained that the stabilisation project was borne from the 15th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS which took place in Abuja, Nigeria on December 17, 2016.
“The Heads of State and Government, after due consideration of the serious humanitarian situation in Northern Nigeria, expressed concern over the suffering of the population occasioned by Boko Haram attacks.
“To respond to the humanitarian situation, the Authority decided, on one hand, to create a Special Solidarity Fund for the victims of terrorism and, on the other hand, called on the international community to support the implementation of the ‘Buhari Plan’ for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North-East of Nigeria.
“To implement this directive, the ECOWAS Commission established the Stabilization Fund with the sum of US$1 million in 2020 under the Humanitarian and Social Affairs budget to assist and support the population of concern and the most vulnerable population in Northern Nigeria.
While noting that the project has enhanced the resilience of thousands of vulnerable people, he said: “Given the dire humanitarian situation which continues to exist in our region, the ECOWAS Commission will not rest on its oars to work with Member States and partners within our modest efforts to make a difference.
He also disclosed plans by ECOWAS Commission’s Humanitarian and Social Affairs Directorate in collaboration with the ECOWAS Food and Agricultural Agency (AARA) and the Ministry to provide enriched flour worth US$731,000 to tackle malnutrition in the most vulnerable children in Nigeria.
In his remarks, NRCS Director of Disaster Management, Mr. Benson Agbro, reaffirmed the resolve of the Organisation to provide necessary humanitarian assistance.
While noting that the Organisation has over 800,000 volunteers across the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), he averred that the Organisation is never overwhelmed when it comes to intervention.
He also pledged NRCS’s readiness to work with the Ministry and other relevant Agencies with a view to providing humanitarian assistance during the 2023 flood.