Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Maureen Okpe

Network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in North East Nigeria, has commended the Federal Government (FG),on the establishment of the North East Development Commission(NEDC).

The forum also, urged the FG through the office of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to create a liaison desk that will provide synergy in activities of CSOs in the area.

The coalition made the appeal in Abuja, on Friday, in a communique presented at the end of a retreat with theme, Developing Civil Society Agenda, organized to form bonds and re-strategise towards achieving a collective outcome.

The organizations appealed to the FG to lead in the funding and support of humanitarian activities for CSOs in the wake of shrinking financial support from donors, as well as, an inclusive process of Deradicalization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR).

The coalition further tasked government to make concerted effort in the areas of education with special attention on the girl-child, improve on projects of nutrition and the localisation of government policies.

The communique noted, “to fast-track development in the Northeastern states, the Northeast Development Commission should support the states by embarking on pro-poor and community driven development projects and programs and also set up a civil society liaison desk.

“Considering the highest rate of out of school children in the country, coupled with the devastation caused by Boko Haram conflict we therefore call on the governments at both the federal and state levels to judiciously invest in basic Education with special emphasis on the girl-child. This will go a long way to building peace, empower the vulnerable group and mitigate the chances of recruitment into violent extremism and other criminal tendencies.

“Considering the shrinking in funding and donor fatigue there is urgent need or the federal government, the Northeast development commission, the states government to take leadership role in coordination, funding and support humanitarian and development need in the Region.

“The processes of Deradicalization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) Borno Model should be all inclusive, that emphasizes on healing and empowerment of victims. There is need for deliberate attempt to win the heart and mind of the citizens to build trust and confidence

“The Northeast CSOs Forum is calling on Government at all levels, UN, and INGO partners to improve on the level of engagement with communities, this will ensure community participation in project and project design, planning and implementation of programs and projects. This will ensure conflict is mitigated, sustainability and accountability are strengthened.

Speaking at the retreat, the Vice President, represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Political and Social Duties, Mohammed Bulama pledged to bring succour to persons in crisis area in the North East.

He said, “the office of the Vice President is ready to partner with the various CSOs to give assistance as much as possible.”

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Matthias Schmale reiterated the need for localization of government policies, and gender mainstreaming stressing, it remains a critical aspect of the UN’s work around the globe.

Schmale said, “on the gender issue, I couldn’t agree more, in the light of women and girls and indeed the special needs of some vulnerable men and boys need to feature across everything we do.

“While localization remains the key critical aspect, It’s very clear that local organizations understand the context much better, than any of us from the outside can, and so if we want to deliver a relevant action to vulnerable people in the northeast and all of Nigeria, the role of local organizations is crucial.

He expressed concern for the financial outlook for next year as, “it is a bit bleak internationally speaking, we cannot count on resources as being the same way as they have been in the past so generously, and that highlights even more the role the important role local actors.

On his part, Chairman North East Civil Society Forum, Ahmed Shehu, disclosed that, aside creating a network of collaboration for CSOs in the North East, the retreat provided an opportunity to send forth and honour the outgoing UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Matthias Scmale who will be leaving Nigeria after completing his assignment.

Shehu stated the need for CSOs to develop a strategy for engagement on how to work with stakeholders to identify community driven initiative, that impact on the residents.

He called for a structure where the community are involved in the peacebuilding architecture and opportunities are provided for the teeming youth to be gainfully engaged.

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