The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres says the World Food Programme has projected 4.1 million people in the North East of Nigeria to be food insecure in the upcoming lean season.
Guterres stated this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday during his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the UN had called for an additional $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria.
The UN Scribe, who had been in Borno State on Tuesday, said what he saw was a departure from the pictures of hopelessness and despair painted, adding that ”people exuded hope.’’
“Yesterday, I visited Maiduguri where the United Nations is supporting the internally displaced. I was deeply moved by their stories and struggles.
“But despite all they have seen and endured, the people I met remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives. To that end, I welcome the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North East.
“This spirit of hope amidst hardship – and solidarity in struggle – was also at the centre of my discussions with the Presidency today,” he said.
The UN Scribe said discussions with President Buhari also touched on laying groundwork to ensure peaceful and democratic elections next year – and the full participation of Nigeria’s women and young people.
At the media stakeout, the UN Secretary General told newsmen that measures to address security challenges in the country, Lake Chad and Sahel were discussed, which include the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.
In a statement released by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria remains grateful to the United Nations and some world leaders on their steadfast partnership in fighting terrorism, saying the spotlight on Russia and Ukraine could easily distract from other pertinent global challenges.
He noted that the country and the African continent were already concerned that the attention on Russia and Ukraine would crowd out other issues, but the ongoing visit of the UN scribe clearly showed that “the world has not forgotten us.”
He said terrorism remains a threat to global peace, security and progress, with many already killed, while millions had been displaced by the insurgents over many years.
President Buhari told the UN scribe that the government had started a gradual, but steady process of resettlement and reintegration where citizens get encouraged to return to their farms, businesses and other pursuits in life.
The President thanked the Secretary General for the maiden visit to Nigeria.