President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated more concerted and institutionalised efforts to ameliorate the suffering of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa.
The president made the call at the 16th African Union Extra-ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on Humanitarian Crises in African and Pledging Conference, holding in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
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President Buhari, who said only a “collective and coordinated” approach would make a difference, stated that more than five million people had been displaced in the Lake Chad region, with 70 per cent of them mostly Nigerians.
He said the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria necessitated the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, which was designed to provide a national response strategy.
The president welcomed the establishment of an African Union Humanitarian Agency to cater for the growing needs of displaced persons and refugees.
In a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari thanked the African Union, government and people of Equatorial Guinea for providing the platform for leaders to deliberate and address pressing issues confronting the continent.
While pledging US$3million for the takeoff of the African Union Humanitarian Agency, he also appreciated the Specialized Technical Committee for their hard work to produce the statutes.
The African Union chairman and president of Senegal, Macky Sall, pledged US$3m on behalf of his country, urging other African leaders to contribute to the establishment of the humanitarian agency.
The president of the host country, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, pledged US$4m, with $2m for the new agency, while $2m will go to Mozambique.