The United Nations (UN) has advised the federal government to add dialogue to the use of force to end insecurity and killings ravaging the northern part of the country.
There must be dialogue and political approach to military solution, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said to reporters at the State House in Abuja after a meeting with President Buhari.
Kallon said: “The conflict is still ongoing, it’s not over. But today again, I told Mr. President that in addition to the military effort, that there is need to complement that with enhanced dialogue and political approach process in search of durable solution to the crisis.
“So, we think various approaches have to be used to find a solution. But when you talk about conflicts in Nigeria, we are talking about three typologies. There is no one-size-fits-all. You have identity-based conflicts, resource-based and power-based conflicts. Each of those typologies require different approaches and solutions, that is the complex axis we are dealing with.
“In the Northwest, you have the situation of banditry that is mixed up with some elements of terrorism, which makes it even more complex. And there is also power-based conflicts that are ongoing.
“So, because of the mixture of these typologies within Nigeria itself, that is why it is so difficult to find solutions to them, because you have to deal with each of them. But underneath all these beehives of conflicts, there are three dynamics that before a solution is found, we must look at; the political, economy and social context. They are so critical in finding the solution.
“The relationship between those three factors remain extremely important when you start looking at the issue of criminality, banditry and terrorism.
So, my call to His Excellency is to look at that robust mechanisms as a way of trying to find solutions to the conflicts in general”.
The envoy added: “The affected people especially the 1.2 million IDPs and over 293,000 refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon must be supported in every way possible to improve IDP sites and shelter, basic services, protection and decongestion and dignified voluntary return to places they will have access to basic services and security.
“There is an urgent need to look at the issue of outstanding Tripartite Agreements with the Nigerian-Refugee Hosting countries and develop a National Framework to guide action on IDPs at state level in line with protocols agreed at the Kampala Convention”.
The UN representative said humanitarian problem in the Northeast had no humanitarian solution. He said only peace and preventive measures could solve the problem.
“Yet still, the situation is still extremely difficult in the sense that the population are still kept in garrison-type of camps, people are not able to go back to undertake their normal activities to rebuild their lives and livelihood.
“There are periodic attacks on them by non-state armed groups, so it is quite a difficult situation at this point in time.
As a result of that, we are very clear on it. The only solution to the Northeast is peace.
“And the only thing we can do is to ensure that in whatever we do, we prioritise prevention, we support development in areas feasible and we provide humanitarian assistance when needed. In our jargons we say we have to bridge the humanitarian development of peace building as a framework to find a solution to the crisis in the Northeast Nigeria.
Speaking on the UN’s interventions in the country, he said it invests an average of $1.5 billion annually in Nigeria to support the humanitarian and development efforts of the Federal Government, though the global agency is not a financial institution.
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 stated: “The system of financing health, the coordination between federal and state structures, the rebuilding of quality health centers that are staffed by trained health workers with appropriate supplies are the challenges critical to building a primary health care system capable of sustaining Universal Health Coverage in all aspects of health care and need a renewed focus from leadership coupled with strengthened partnerships.
“I would recommend you request your government to put into action bold and effective changes to restructure and reform the government health institutions to improve efficiency and cooperation across the board.
“The United Nations is Nigeria’s first partner in this challenge, and we are ready to do our part”, he said.
On the fight against corruption, the UN praised President Buhari for his resolve to reform and return of discipline in the public service as well as the success in fighting corruption including the convictions and recovery of assets.
“As you continue to strengthen institutions to fight corruption, we now also need to increase our support for grassroots and ‘people-centered’ approach and get all members of the community involved and engaged”.
He said based on UN assistance both to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across the country over the last four electoral cycles, the world body has gathered enough data and experience to support government’s efforts towards leaving a legacy on the electoral processes in Nigeria.
On Census, he said “a national census is long over-due and critical for planning and effective management of national resources and to guide strategic investments in health care, education, food security, human resources and social services.”
He said the UN is currently supporting the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise and is ready and willing to continue to support such an effort at all stages and remains at the President’s disposal at all times.
The UN hailed Buhari and Nigeria on the Polio Eradication achievement.
“With the support of international partners over the past two decades, Nigeria has made great strides in addressing many of the killers and cripplers among us. Under-5 mortality from diarrhea and respiratory infections, HIV, malaria, TB, and neglected tropical diseases are all in retreat. Polio is no longer endemic congratulations on a job well done.
“This progress has been achieved through leadership and sustained investment in building human resources for health and strengthening health systems,” he said.