By Bukola Olasanmi

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA) has revealed that over $1 billion would be required for effective response to cases of humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s North Eastern region which had been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.

This is coming as the UN agency also disclosed that the international donors mobilised about $940 million in 2017 to tackle the terrorists induced crisis.

OCHA stated on Friday that the fund which was raised at a conference in Oslo, Norway, was a little below the target of $1.05 billion expected and that it was actually meant to address  the humanitarian needs in the North-east for 2017. 

Speaking at an event organised by the Civil Society Network for Lake Chad Region in Abuja, the Humanitarian Financing Advisor, UN OCHA, Alta Bell, stated that the international organisation was also intervening in other countries, but emphasised that in Nigeria the office conducted a needs assessment for states in the North-East and figured out that $1.05 billion was needed for humanitarian response in the region. 

With respect to Nigeria in the year 2017, there was a humanitarian response plan that was developed and it was done in partnership with all partners. We looked at the needs, we did the needs overview of the different states in the North-East and we came up with a plan to respond to the very significant needs which actually amounted to $1.05bn. This is extremely large requirement.

 “However, as a result of conferences like Oslo and awareness campaigns, funds were raised. Through Oslo, the actual response in terms of contributions was extremely generous. With more than $740m raised and mobilised to respond to needs, and even outside of that another $200m which was also for humanitarian needs. That is unprecedented,” Bell said.  

She commend the network of CSOs at the event, saying, “So thanks to all of your voices, the influence that you’ve had with the government, with the donors and at this Oslo conference that really kick-started the response and led to a massive scale-up in response.” 

According to her, the UN OCHA was able to in 2017 reach out to 5.1 million people in the affected region, adding that more humanitarian workers will be employed, going forward. 

She stated: “In 2017, we were looking at a target of 6.9 million people and we were able to assist 5.1 million people, together with all of our partners. And this is also an impressive achievement which could not have been done without the support of local partners.  

“Certainly, we are now looking at something like 3,000 humanitarian workers, most of whom are local, whether local NGOs or staff working with the international NGOs in the UN because they are the frontline responders.”

 She said an additional $1.05 billion will be needed for humanitarian needs in 2018, adding that her office had started working with international financial institutions in order to meet the needs of more people in the North-East. 

Bell noted that: “In this year 2018, we are actually looking at another $1.05 billion that is going to be required to respond. Certainly in order to respond well we need to maintain the momentum that was achieved last year and we also recognise the need for strengthening our partnership with local NGOs and with the civil society.

“I will like to say that with respect to this year, we are also working very closely with our development partners and different banks, including the World Bank, because we really want to work towards more stabilisation and more legitimacy in the different areas where there have been some sort of high levels of conflict.”