The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS has officially handed over food items worth one million US dollars to the Borno State Government for the internally displaced people in the North-East.
Handing over the food items to the Borno State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri, the Acting Director of Humanitarian Affairs of ECOWAS, Mrs. Florence Iheme, said the donation was in fulfilment of the promise made by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza, when he visited Maiduguri last year.
Mrs. Iheme said the food items for distribution were from the ECOWAS Food Reserve in Lome, Togo, as part of its humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons in the North-East.
She said the food items, which had been handed over and distributed in Damaturu, Gombe, Yola and Maiduguri, included maize, sorghum and millet, totalling 22, 600 metric tons, with the remaining 700 metric tons of rice, which would soon be delivered to the Warehouses of the National Emergency Management Agency.
Mrs. Iheme said ECOWAS would continue to develop strategies and synergies aimed at enhancing food security and community resilience in the West African region as a whole.
The ECOWAS Food Reserve in Lome, Togo is a specialised agency of Economic Community of West African States and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the food items donated conform to preferences of the IDPs and delivered on time to meet the urgent needs of the IDPs in the affected areas.
The Acting ECOWAS Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Mrs. Florence Iheme said the commission was equally going to implement the decision of the Authority of Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS on its continued support to the North-East of Nigeria.
Mrs. Iheme said the ECOWAS Commission was going to set up a Solidarity Fund for the North-East of Nigeria, to support the Buhari Plan, while counting on ECOWAS Partners for support.
We remain in the vanguard of international efforts to develop strategies for the prevention of further instability and for the stabilisation of the Lake Chad region. The ECOWAS Commission expresses its deepest appreciation to the European Union, through whose financial assistance; ECOWAS was able to acquire the food for this response. ECOWAS encourages all partners and stakeholders to continue relentlessly to support the Nigerian Government in providing the needed assistance to the affected population. And to support the Federal Government's initiative to reach to rehabilitate and reconstruct North-East of Nigeria, Mrs. Iheme said.
The Director General of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Mustapha Mai-Haja, said the food donated by ECOWAS signified the clear and strong recognition of the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.
Mr. Mai-Haja said the food items came at the time they were most needed.
It is a good gesture, a good will, and demonstration of brotherhood by the ECOWAS. The effort, commitment, assistance by the Executive Governor made a lot of donations rushing into the North-East and in particular, Borno State. The Governor showed serious commitment and so people felt they must assist and bring donations, such as this. With a strong sense of humility, I'll like to, on behalf of the federal Government wish to express our sincere gratitude for good gesture by ECOWAS. We thank you, said Mr. Mai-Haja.
Governor Kashim Shetima of Borno State described the food donation a timely intervention and in the spirit of African Brotherhood.
On behalf of the people and government of Borno State, we wish to register our most sincere gratitude for the timely intervention by ECOWAS towards addressing our food security needs in the state and the sub-region. It's quite timely and it's in the spirit of African Brotherhood. Indeed, we are facing real existential threats and food is absolutely essential for the sustenance of the people, especially in the lean months. We have to commend NEMA under the able leadership of Engineer Mai-Haja for the transparency and commitment displayed by the organization in the recent intervention by the Federal Government in the North-East and Borno in particular, Governor Shettima said.
Governor Shettima commended the support of some security agencies for providing vigilance to ensure that the various donations made by different partners and stakeholders were not diverted.
He said tracking devices were being used to track the movement of donated items from the point of collection to the point of disembarkation.
The Borno State Governor also commended the National Emergency Management agency for its support, while assuring the National Emergency Management agency of his support at ensuring that the items reach the rightful beneficiaries.
Source: Voice of Nigeria