By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja – The Coalition of Civil Society Network of Lake Chad Basin have urged the governments of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad to improve on security the in the in North-East.
They made the call on Friday in Abuja during the inaugural general assembly and capacity building training of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating in the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was aimed at examining the achievements and gaps in humanitarian interventions in the region, one year after the Oslo Humanitarian Conference.
The coalition stressed the need for the various governments and international partners to involve local CSOs and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) in interventions in the affected communities to achieve optimum results.
Amb. Shehu Ahmed, the Chairman, North-East Civic Society Forum, said that although a lot had been achieved in the past one year, the Federal Government needed to boost the progress recorded in addressing the North-east situation.
Ahmed said that the recent abduction of 90 school girls in Dapchi, Yobe State, was a wake-up call on the government and the military to intensify security in the area.
“It is the role and responsibility of the government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens.
“If this is not done, then there is a gap; so we want the government to improve the level of security.
“It is no longer news; two days ago, in one of the states within our region, over 90 girls were abducted.
“The government came up that they have been freed but then we realised that they had not been freed.
“Let them stop playing games with people’s lives; let the government give the right information and let us be sincere in our approach.
“The role of every government is to protect the interest, lives and properties of the affected population.
“It is better for the government to go back to the drawing board and ensure that security is intensified.”
Ahmed underscored the need for the government and international donors too partner with local CSOs and CBOs in intervention programmes and projects
in the North-east to achieve best results.
He explained that local CSOs and CBOs were more knowledgeable on the crises on ground.
He added that government needed to strengthen the capacities of local CSOs and CBOs to enable them to function effectively when the
international NGOs leave.
According to him, the presentations made by CSOs during the 2017 Oslo humanitarian conference spurred donors to contribute 675 million dollars
for humanitarian interventions in the region.
Ahmed further said that the network of civil society from the Lake Chad region was formed to monitor the humanitarian situation and to ensure
that they were also involved in the project execution.
He commended the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for effective coordination of humanitarian activities in
various countries of the region.
Also speaking, Mr Peter Egwudah of the Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE), commended the launch of the 2018
Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), under the UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon.
He said that the 2018 HRP was the first pool of funds that local NGOs were allowed access, adding that it was a welcome development toward
addressing the humanitarian needs of the affected population in the North-east.
Egwudah also urged the Federal Government government to support its own local CSOs and CBOs without relying on the funds from international donors.
Responding, Ms Alta Bell, Humanitarian Financing Advisor of OCHA, said that the office was working towards increasing and strengthening the number of local
partners in its response plans.
Bell said that the office working toward increasing the number of local partners.
“We are at 12 now which is a good achievement for the first year; but we are also working hard to make sure that we can bring in more partners.
“We are looking at another 12 that have gone through the eligibility process and we are hoping again to double those numbers.
“We are working closely with our development partners and the World Bank because we want to move for more stabilisation in the different areas
where there have been high levels of conflict,’’ Bell said. (NAN)