Saturday, August 1

4.5 million Nigerians in North-East risk hunger – UNDP

At least 4.5 million people are at risk of going hungry in the North-Eastern Nigeria due to the Boko Haram insurgency.

The United Nations Development Programme stated this on Friday while saying it had begun to implement a programme that would create hundreds of jobs and promote peace and social cohesion among conflict-affected communities in the zone.

The United Nations agency said, “The violence in the North-East has destroyed lives and communities and displaced 1.4 million people, while 4.5 million are at risk of going hungry. Funded by the Government of Norway to the tune of $1.7m (N338.3m), the programme will help communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to make a living, as well as establish new networks to prevent conflict and promote dialogue.

“The UNDP will train an initial 500 women and youths so they can acquire the skills to work in a diversity of trades and disciplines, including producing metals, electrical installation, plumbing, computer and cell phone repair and catering.

“Many of them will also learn how to do book-keeping and accounting so they can operate small businesses of their own. With the economy in these three states at a standstill, and the livelihoods of communities and households disrupted, the jobs will go a long way toward helping families to sustain themselves and restart their lives once the conflict has ended.”

Working through the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, the UNDP is also providing seeds, equipment and training so that 1,400 Internally Displaced Persons in Adamawa and Borno states can grow and sell their own food.

The programme is also expected to establish an early warning system in the three states including Gombe State, allowing people to report incidents through text messages and dedicated social media platforms.

The UNDP said, “The information will immediately be collected by monitors within the respective States, who will transmit it to relevant authorities for follow-up action. In order to help prevent and resolve conflicts, programme participants will be trained in various aspects of conflict prevention and transformation, and community outreach. Thanks to the programme, psychosocial counselling and support for trauma healing will be dispensed to victims of violence, including many women and girls.”

In early July, the UNDP, working with local partners, began to screen victims of the insurgency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, identifying close to 300 of them as eligible to participate in the programme. This exercise will continue in the coming weeks so as to identify more victims to be supported.

UNDP will work with beneficiaries for an initial period of six months to one year. They will be given secure accommodation and paid a monthly stipend of $100 (N19, 900) for the entire period of the training. At the end of the training, they will be assisted with equipment to establish their own businesses.


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