The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, on Thursday said despite the successes of the ongoing military counterinsurgency operations in North-east Nigeria, the Boko Haram war is not over yet.
Mrs. Mohammed, a former minister of environment in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, said the UN will this year assist the government to achieve more successes.
She made this statement during a courtesy call on the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, at the end of a two-day working visit to the state.
Commending the Borno government’s “speed” in the area of reconstruction of liberated communities earlier destroyed by the Boko Haram, the official promised more funding for the ongoing humanitarian intervention in the state.
“One of our main messages is that while Nigeria has really made huge efforts in containing its space and pushing back the insurgency, it is not over yet.
She said “a lot more needs to be invested in helping the military offensive and making sure they have the equipment, and in also ensuring they have a transition to a civilian administration that will comprise the civil defence, the police and all the necessary infrastructure while they are managing the conflict within their domain.”
She commended the governments of Nigeria and Borno State for the support accorded UN workers discharging their role in taking humanitarian assistance to those in need.
“We have been in Borno state for the last two days to see for ourselves what the government of Nigeria and the Borno state government, with the support of the UN system, has achieved in the last year or two,” she said.
She said the primary aim of her mission to the state was also acquaint herself with “what challenges have been solved and what are the gaps you (Borno government) need to address and to hear from those in the front-line, the humanitarian workers, our agencies, our programmers and some of the people working with state government, federal government programmers.”
The official, who was accompanied by top officials of various UN system, said she had visited the IDP camps, met with NGOs, and the international communities working in the state.
“We spoke with the theatre commander, those right on the front-line to understand better how we can address situation and access everyone so that we can save more lives.”
She said another important concern of the UN was “how we deal with maintaining the crisis and working towards reintegration all of those that are displaced back into their communities.”
She thanked the government of Borno State, especially “the leadership of His Excellency the governor of Borno state in really moving so fast.”
“The last time I was here which was a few years ago, there has been a speedy improvement in what has happened.
“Certainly more can be done and that’s why we are here. We are facing a number of challenges going forward; this is the season where activities can become more pronounced; everyone need to be re-enforced with their services to ensure that more communities are helped.”
She said Nigeria has “won the best result for coming with over $900,000; which we understand is well spent and we have seen the benefit of it.
“We will look forward to another opportunity to bring in more funds.”
She said the UN acknowledged the challenges of humanitarian activities during an election year in the country, and said her organisation looked forward to seeing the 2019 election being hitch-free.
“We know there are the challenges of upcoming elections which we like to be done in a peaceful manner, which is the right of every Nigerian and include the people of Borno State.”
Governor Shettima, in his response, thanked the UN Deputy Secretary General for visiting the state which he said was the fourth time.
“I must say that in all the times you come around, the people of Borno State have continued to benefit immensely from your visits. And even I as the chief executive of Borno State have continued to benefit on your versatile knowledge, your ruggedness even as a woman and your uncommon wisdom in the management of complex situations,” he said.
“You have worked with us as an honorary adviser before now and I must confess that it was a rare privilege for me to have been advised by a woman with a first class competence in every aspect of developmental leadership. You have contributed so much in shaping the priorities of Borno State Government,” said Mr. Shettima.