The Chairman of First Bank PLC, Ibukun Awosika, says the Organised Private Sector is working to raise funds in partnership with the UN to address the humanitarian crisis in Northeastern Nigeria.
Awosika said during a visit to Internally Displaced Persons camps in Maiduguri that the effort is being spearheaded by an NGO, Nigeria Private Sector Initiative (NPSI).
Awosika, who led members of the initiative, most of them from banking, energy and legal sectors, said the organisation would partner with the UN to raise money to rebuild the northeast, and urged all Nigerians to contribute.
“This is the second team of the private sector groups who came to Borno to see the realities on ground to enable us assist the displaced persons.”
She said the joint initiative would harness financial resources and expertise for more effective and timely response to the humanitarian issues in the Northeast.
“The situation is quite overwhelming, heart-rending. I look at the children and I see the problems of the future if they don’t get what they really need in terms of education, healthcare support and stable family life.
“It’s a national problem, even though what we see is more of international support but traditionally as a people we are known for looking out to support our own people.
“Apart from what the rest of the world are doing to help us, we should help ourselves in any layer; through political, government and through citizens’ decisions. It is about mobilising the whole of Nigerians to support this cause.
“It doesn’t matter what part of the country we are from. This is our country, so we must bring ourselves together to help our brothers and sisters and our children for the sake of our nation.
“It wasn’t about what the private sector and First Bank can do as institutions because at the end of the day, how many are we in these institutions. For me, it is about what the whole Nigerians can do to support one another.
“It is about us mobilising every single kobo from N100, N500, N1000, N50, 000, N100 million and the funds from institutions like First bank and other sectors,” she said.
She therefore urged the over 200 million Nigerians in the country to support the IDPs who were in dire need of assistance.
She added “We have seen a lot of young people but they are not useful to us until we educate them and enhance their livelihood before they can become human capital.”
Mr Biyi Ologbami, Managing Director, Ecobank, said that the visit was part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI), founded in 2018 to fast track collaboration between the UN, humanitarian organisations and indigenous firms in raising funds.
Ologbami said that the platform is a first in the world for humanitarian action and a major innovation that would serve as a blueprint for other country-based funds.
He said that the initiative would help in addressing the water sanitation, health, shelter, education needs of the displaced population, as well as resettle them back to their homes of abode.
Also, Edward Kallon, The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said the partnership would enhance effective response to the humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people in the northeast.
He said that the aim of the partnership was to benefit from the technical knowledge of enhancing the work of the UN on how to mobilise resources from the business community to contribute to solving the crises.
NAN reports that statistics by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) indicated that the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) has so far raised $83 million in contributions and pledges to date.
NAN recalls that the 10 year conflict in the Northeast has left more than seven million people in dire need of help in the three worst affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe
About 1.8 million people are internally displaced, with the vast population needing food, water, shelter and health services. (NAN)