The UN system in Nigeria has partnered leading Nigerian companies from the banking, energy, legal and consumer services sectors to support the Federal Government to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the northeast.
Head of Communications, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Mrs Samantha Newport, made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja on Friday, November 16, 2018.
Newport said the United Nations Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI) was launched in Lagos on Thursday.
She said that the innovation marked the first time the private sector would be collaborating with the UN to assist the needy.
She also explained that the collaboration would be done through a country-based fund with pool resources to deliver humanitarian aid to people in need.
UNOCHA’s Head of Communications recalled that the crisis, triggered largely by the ongoing conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, had claimed the lives of 27,000 people in almost a decade.
Newport said that reports had revealed that more than seven million vulnerable women, men and children needed life-saving aid such as food, safe water and medicine.
The statement quoted Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, as commending the partnership, explaining that it was an investment in humanity.
“The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative presents a unique opportunity to create a blueprint for future private sector engagement in humanitarian action across the globe.
“Investing in the vulnerable people of north-east Nigeria is an investment in humanity that will last for generations. That is business for good.”
“The initiative aims to not only harness the financial resources of Nigeria’s dynamic private sector, but also the entrepreneurial and innovative expertise of Africa’s largest economy.
“In a move that will see the country’s private sector working alongside the United Nations and Member States, International and Nigerian non-profit organisations who are working on the frontlines of the response,” Newport quoted Kallon as saying.
The statement also quoted Mr Adewale Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, as saying that the Nigeria’s Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative would create hope and promote social justice for the disadvantaged citizens.
“I am proud to be a part of this unique opportunity for the private and public sectors to collectively offer solutions to a local humanitarian crisis,” Tinubu said.
Also, Mr Jim Ovia, the Managing Director, Zenith Bank, said: “Merging our money and our minds, helping our countrymen and building on progress made so far.”
According to the statement, that 14 companies and groups announced their support for the Nigeria NHF-PSI.
They promised to form a Steering Group that will collaborate efforts to raise awareness and resources for the overall interest of the under-privileged.
The Steering Group will be co-Chaired by Ovia, Tinubu, Kyari Bukar of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.
Others include Olumide Akpata, Partner, Templars Law; Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria; Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc; and Yaw Nsarkoh, Executive Vice President for Nigeria and Ghana, Unilever Plc.
Others are Onyeche Tifase, the Managing Director, Siemens Nigeria; Dr Bryant (ABC) Orjiako, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc; and Georgios Polymenakos, Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd.
Kemi Okusanya, General Manager, Visa West Africa; Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange; and Samaila Zubairu, President, Africa Finance Corporation, will also be participating.