*Organisation supports FG with $1.5bn annually
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja welcomed commendation by United Nations (UN) of his efforts to restore security, strengthen institutions against corruption, improve health facilities and rebuilding of its Nigeria Office, which was attacked by terrorists in 2011.
The President, who received a delegation led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, said reconstruction of UN building by the government was in full appreciation of the work of the international organisation, noting that the attack by the terrorists was regrettable.
“Thank you for what you have been doing in the country, especially for women and children. I am glad you have put together a dedicated team to work with us”, Buhari said while commending the various programmes of the UN in Nigeria.
“I am very impressed with the number of programmes you are carrying out, and I hope that our ministers will continue to cooperate with you.
“I assure that beyond the renovation of your headquarters after that incident, we will continue to make your job feasible and comfortable. If you need anything in the course of your assignments talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama” he added.
In his remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator praised the administration for the rebuilding and modernisation of the UN House in Nigeria, describing it as a commendable support to multilateralism.
“The re-opening of the UN House in October 2019, after eight years, was a day of celebration and remembrance. It was also an act of defiance in the face of terror and attack on our core values of peace, freedom, prosperity, tolerance and justice.’’
Mr Kallon commended President Buhari for his leadership and guidance in response to COVID-19 pandemic as well as the wisdom in establishing the Presidential Task Force and adding his voice to the global call for a people’s vaccine for coronavirus.
The UN representative congratulated Nigeria on the successful eradication of polio virus and promised to partner with the country in building more Primary Health Care Centres capable of sustaining universal health coverage.
Mr. Kallon extolled the President and his administration for establishment of the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as for his continuous support in advancing gender issues, the girl-child, and rights of the child in general.’’
He said the President should be praised for “legacy investments in the administration’s fight against corruption, electoral reforms and census.’’
Mr Kallon also commended President Buhari’s “resolve to reform and return discipline in the public service as well as the success in fighting corruption, including convictions and recovery of assets.’’
In his remarks to the press afterwards, Kallon said that the UN invests an average of $1.5 billion annually to support the humanitarian and development efforts of the Federal Government.
The UN representative emphasized that humanitarian problem in the Northeast did not have a humanitarian solution and therefore, noted that only peace and preventive measures can solve the problem.
Highlighting the need for dialogue and a political process to complement the military efforts in the new national security strategy, he assured that UN can tap into its deep reservoir of expertise, both in human and material resources to
put at the disposal of Nigeria.
He added: “We have multi-faceted security problems with each problem requiring a unique set
of innovative solutions from identity-based conflict to resource-based conflict and power-based conflict. One size will not fit all.”
On the COVID-19 Pandemic the UN chief maintained that it has underscored the need for a strengthened and renewed multilateralism.
He advocated “a multilateralism
built on trust, inclusive and networked with stronger institutional links and based on
international law with an overarching goal of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.”
Kallon said Nigeria should see the pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen its health institutions, urging government to put, in action, bold and effective changes to restructure and reform government health institutions.