ECOWAS President Leads Humanitarian Mission to North East Nigeria

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THE President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza will lead a high powered humanitarian Mission to Maiduguri, North-East of Nigeria on the 11th of December 2016.

His Mission in the north-east is mainly to show solidarity with the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the devastation of the area by insurgency and terrorism related violence that has displaced a great number of the population of the area.

The Mission is within the framework of ECOWAS humanitarian intervention programmes meant to assist Member States in times of great difficulty as the Community moves from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of peoples.

It will also enable President de Sousa and members of the ECOWAS delegation to experience first-hand, the intensity of the suffering by the affected which has manifested as food insecurity, shortages of social as well as health facilities.

The ECOWAS Commission has always stated its concerns about the situation in Nigeria. To that extent, the Commission has pleaded to continue to strengthen collaboration with partners, while improving its advocacy and capacity building efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the affected population in the North East of Nigeria.

Other interventions by ECOWAS Commission in the crisis include the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, IFRC, to implement ECOWAS response to the IDPs in Nigeria and for which implementation has already begun by IFRC.

There is also an MOU signed with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, to implement ECOWAS response to Nigerian Refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon while a memorandum has been drafted on the situation in the North East of Nigeria for presentation to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in December 2016.

In the wake of natural and man-made disasters in the Sahel region that is impoverishing its population, the ECOWAS Commission has drawn up a broad strategy based on a long-term vision of a developed and dis-enclaved sahel-saharan region, economically and socially integrated, free from the scourge of hunger and malnutrition, peaceful and imbued with the principles of tolerance, peace and democracy.

The Strategy’s overarching objective is to contribute, through regional action, to the integrated and secured development of the Sahel-Saharan region, while discouraging enclaving, but providing access to basic services and infrastructure, increase the production capacity and wealth creation, promote education to peace, general education of citizens and professional training and employment as well as improve security and stability.

The humanitarian situation in Nigeria’s North East is dire, with over 14 million people adversely affected. There are over 2 million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and more than 187,000 refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.  There are also 4.4 million people facing acute food insecurity and another 2.5 million people including women and children dying daily of Acute Malnutrition.

The ECOWAS Commission President will be accompanied on the Mission by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, PAPS, Halima Ahmed, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Fatimata Dia Sow and other Senior Officials.

Their visit is also at the instance of the Head of Office United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, Head of Cluster International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, IFRC, the Resident Representative United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the Representative, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, as well as the Representatives of International and Local Non-Governmental Organisations.

—  Dec 7, 2016 @ 17:50 GMT

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