The United States of America says it is ready to assist the Nigerian government in addressing the conflicts in the North-East, the refugees crises and the massive displacement of citizens.
Mr Richard Albright, US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration made this known during a visit to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on Tuesday in Abuja.
Albright, who led the team from the US department of States, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and the US Embassy in Nigeria, said US government was seeking ways for collaborative efforts.
He said that they were in Nigeria to discuss with the Nigerian Government, UN agencies and some Non-Governmental Organisations on positive collaborative efforts after which they would proceed to Cameroon.
“We are here to discuss with the government of Nigeria and the UN agencies and some of the Non Governmental Associations in their joint efforts to address the conflicts in the North-East of Nigeria.
“As well as some of the refugees crises that we are facing in the South-South emanating from Cameroon.
“This is a long standing conflict that involves two terrorist organisations that have created great destruction and devastation and harm to a lot of segment of the population.
“We are here to consult with the government on how we can help Nigeria in addressing these challenges in creating conditions for the sustainable return of the displaced populations to their homes and their regions.
“We welcome the efforts that the Nigerian government has made with the government of Cameroon and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in signing the tripartite agreement.
“The agreement that would govern the eventual return of Nigerian refugees, who are displaced in Cameroon,’’ Albright said.
Albright said that the US government through the Bureau would ensure and facilitate humanitarian assistance to those who are displaced in adherence to international humanitarian principles in supporting the return of the population.
He said that they would also ensure the carrying out of returnees in a way that is safe, dignified, voluntary and informed.
He appreciated all the close cooperation between the United States government and the government of Nigeria.
In his response, Mr Mustapha Maihaja, Director General, NEMA appreciated the team for their visit and the continuous support of the United States government to Nigeria through its relevant agencies.
Maihaja said that NEMA was looking forward to working with the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrants to better respond to the to the humanitarian crises and assist the vulnerable and those displaced
He said that the agency also welcomes a sustained and mutually beneficial relationship with the Bureau.
“Let me express my sincere appreciation for the support and various assistant received from the Government and people of the United States of America.
“Through its development agencies and partners in addressing the challenges of the humanitarian crises in the North-East Nigeria since 2009.
“I wish to place on record that the success story achieved so far is not without the support of the United States government through the USAID.
“We are equally grateful for the specialized training on Incident Management System and Operating Centre USAID is giving to the staff of NEMA and other partners,’’ Maihaja said.
Maihaja said that since the onset of the humanitarian crises in the North-East in 2009, NEMA has been providing emergency food and Non-Food interventions to the victims of insurgency on regular basis.
He said that the Federal Government in its response to the needs of displaced persons in the North-East had authorised an Emergency Food Intervention Project in the North-East (EFINE) to be managed by NEMA.
According to him, this year, a total of 2,158 returnees were received in Lagos between Jan. to Aug. and they have been safely reunited with their various families.
The NEMA DG said that relevant agencies ensured that programmes targeted at rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees were pursued and executed.
The NEMA DG and the US delegation discussed further on collaborative strategies to adopt in addressing the Nigeria humanitarian crises.