Buhari hails UNDP for diverse assistance to Nigeria

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has praised the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for its diverse assistance to Nigeria, particularly in helping to stabilise the crisis-ridden North East.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari spoke Thursday at State House, Abuja, while playing host to Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Head of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa.

He said the Federal Government was doing its best to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and return them to their ancestral homes, but with meagre resources, assistance from bodies like the UNDP has come in handy.

The president said as a developing country, Nigeria ‘can’t do hop, step and jump, but must pass through the process of development,’ adding that the help of international organisations is much appreciated.

He thanked Nigerian-born Eziakonwa for her official visit ‘and for coming home as well,’ noting that herself, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organisation, and Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, were some of the women doing Nigeria proud internationally.

Eziakonwa said she was delighted during her visit to the North East ‘to see incredible progress being made in helping people restore their livelihoods, teachers and students back in schools, police stations being rebuilt, and health centres being reconstructed.’

Saying it is the desire of UNDP to see IDPs camps emptied, Eziakonwa thanked Nigeria for the opportunity given the organisation to play a role ‘as well as space given us to address COVID-19 through the Basket Fund.’

On youth development, the UNDP Regional Bureau head said Africa was now being seen ‘from problem lens to opportunity lens,’ and efforts were being made to tap into youth dynamism, provision of social protection, digital technology, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and a focus on climate change.

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