The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has said it planned to spend $4 million in its intervention programmes in the insurgency-hit North East Nigeria.
Regional Coordinator of the agency, who is also the head of its Maiduguri Sub-Office, Joerg Kuehnel, made this known while speaking to journalists on Friday in Maiduguri.
He noted that the budgeted sum is expected to be realized via donations from donor agencies as well as contributing partners.
He however pointed out that the organisation is currently faced with some challenges that are impeding its activities in the region.
The major challenge according to Kuehnel, is that of security as most of the communities are still inaccessible and unsecured as Boko Haram fighters still lurk around and carry out periodic attacks.
He explained that the bombs are still going off on regular basis and attacks by the insurgents on soft targets are still rife.
Kuelnel also noted that the issue of coordination of the humanitarian agencies under the United Nations by linking them together for the intervention programmes has been a great challenge.
But he added that there has been progress as governments of various countries are partnering with humanitarian agencies to ameliorate the sufferings of victims of insurgency.
On the issue of corruption and the alleged pilfering of relief materials by government officials, the UNDP boss said that corruption was not only endemic in Nigeria, arguing that wherever there is accumulation of resources anywhere in the world, there has always been issues of corruption.
But he noted that the agency has put in place machinery to address corruption, adding that the resources were being well controlled and managed.
“It is all about transparency and accountability on the side of those managing the resources and UN has done a lot and there is pressure on UNDP for its staff to be very transparent and accountable in all their activities,” he said.
The UNDP chief said that since coming to Nigeria in 1968, the agency has supported governments at all levels on critical issues that have to do with the population and development of the people and communities.
He said: “We are on the ground in the three most affected states; Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa.
“With the establishment of our Sub in Maiduguri, we have scaled up our work to build upon successes and pilot interventions from 2016, including immediate livelihood support, infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation, and de-radicalization and prevention of violent extremism.
“We have designed and rolled out an Integrated Community Stabilization Programme, which is aimed at helping both internally displaced people and host communities to better withstand the crisis and to pave the way towards a peaceful, sustainable future.”
Kuehnel further said that some conditions must be met before people can return to their homes.
“Communities must be safe, essential infrastructure must be available (then) livelihoods can restart, and local governments are able to provide basic services.
“Without even one of these components, communities will remain vulnerable,” he said.
The UNDP boss further said: “In partnership with the Governments of Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States Agency for International Development,USAID, we are piloting the integrated programme in two Local Government Areas in Borno State and plans are underway to expand to Yobe and Adamawa States.
“Lessons from these pilot interventions will inform the scale up of the integrated programme to 50 communities in five LGAs, targeting more than 1,000,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries.”
“We are implementing an Integrated Programme in collaboration with the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) and the British Council.
“And in addition, our efforts are carefully aligned with the interventions of key sister agencies (FAO, UNICEF, WFP) and other national and international NGO partners.”
According to Kuehnel, “close to 350,000 most vulnerable people benefited from UNDP’s interventions.”
“About 4.2 million people were reached with radio public service announcements and dramas on peace building and gender based violence prevention messages,” he said.