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Nigeria needs N147b to avert food crisis in North East – UN

The United Nations agencies have said that Nigeria urgently needs N147 billion to avert a looming danger facing people in the North East to stave…

The United Nations agencies have said that Nigeria urgently needs N147 billion to avert a looming danger facing people in the North East to stave off food insecurity and nutrition crisis.

The UN agencies comprise the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Speaking yesterday at a joint advocacy event on Food Security and Nutrition in North East, Nigeria at the UN House in Abuja, the FAO Nigeria country representative, Mr Fred Kafeero, said the situation needed immediate attention.

Kafeero, who spoke on behalf of the Rome-based agencies, said 3.48million out of the estimated 8.4million people in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe needed immediate attention.

 He said about $1.1bn would, however, be required to reach the 8.4million in 2022 in the three states.

Also speaking, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Catriona Wendy Laing, said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the impending humanitarian and food crisis in North East.

“There are 8.4million people who will be impacted by food insecurity, and the cost of delivering assistance will be around $1.1bn. So now is the time for action, and we have been reaching out to all the traditional donors,” she said.

The British high commissioner also noted that the Russian-Ukraine crisis had impacted on food prices as Ukraine was a major exporter of wheat to Nigeria, which is the seventh largest importer of wheat globally. 

“UK made a strong commitment that we will continue to fulfill our obligations on the humanitarian side as we also support other crises around the world. I don’t have the exact figure yet. We are still awaiting our figure, but I expect us to be able to maintain the support we provided last year, which helped reach around 1.2million people,” she said.

Ms Laing said the British government was developing a comprehensive approach to helping the country solve some of the key drivers of food insecurity, such as insurgency in the region.