Nigeria’s Progress Non-Negotiable For Africa’s Dev’t – UN

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The United Nations (UN) has said it will collaborate with President Bola Tinubu’s administration to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria, mentioning it is of the conviction that the success or failure of Africa depends on the Nigeria, prided as the ‘giant of Africa’.

According to the UN, chances for Africa’s growth are limited without the positive position of Nigeria, as it maintained that if Nigeria doesn’t make it, there is no green light for any country on the continent to make it.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Fall, stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he led a delegation from the UN system in Nigeria on a courtesy visit to Vice President Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa.

Proposing a humanitarian response plan for Nigeria, Fall said, “If Nigeria doesn’t make it, there is no chance for any country to make it. If Nigeria lifts it here, not only our sub-region but the entire continent and the world at large will be on track for the SDGs.

A statement by the spokesman of Nigeria’s Vice President, Stanley Nkwocha, quoted Fall as saying, “If we succeed in Nigeria today, the whole of the continent succeeds, but if we have challenges or difficulties to succeed in Nigeria, I am sure it is all of our continent that will be pulled down.”

On the proposed Humanitarian response plan for Nigeria, Fall said, “The plan is beyond helping those who are in need but to set the ground for a transition towards medium and long term development. We need to act now. It is the only way to sustain the successes recorded by the government and other partners to reduce vulnerability in society.”

Commending the measures so far taken by the President Bola Tinubu led administration to reposition the economy, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria emphasized that Nigeria is critical to the progress of Africa and must be supported to succeed.

Fall pledged the UN system’s support for the reforms undertaken by the Tinubu’s administration, just as he sought the partnership of the Federal Government to initiate a social safety programme that will mitigate the impact of the reforms on the most vulnerable in the society.

“Your decision is commended everywhere, but we (at the UN) felt that before we get the results, there is a high risk that it impacts the most vulnerable segments of our community. And at the UN, we stand next to you to try to look for solutions on how we can mitigate those impacts on the most vulnerable people.

“This is what we want and that is our first initiative – how can we do and work together to step up our work on the social protection front? To make sure that a safety net is in place, bring coherence, bring consistency in a way that helps us address vulnerability that is still prevailing in the country,” he emphasized.

The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator also said, “The humanitarian situation in the north has improved and this is thanks to your leadership. But as we speak there is still a humanitarian need, there is still a need to save lives, there is still vulnerability.”

Responding, Vice President Kashim Shettima said Nigeria will work closely with the global body to address all the country’s challenges as a people.

Addressing the UN delegation, he said removing fuel subsidy and unifying exchange rates were tough but necessary decisions to rescue Nigeria from an economic “cul de sac.”

VP Shettima noted that the Tinubu administration inherited a dire situation when it took over the government last year.

“Fuel subsidy has been an albatross around the neck of successive governments in Nigeria. We had two options – either we got rid of subsidy or subsidy will get rid of the Nigerian nation. We have to be our brother’s keeper, but we were literally subsidizing the fuel of the entire West African subregion,” he said.

He noted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s decision to abolish the subsidy and unify exchange rates allowing the Naira to float freely “created a lot of challenges from the humanitarian end.”

The Vice President assured the UN delegation that Nigeria will close ranks with the global body, saying “we will work closely together to address all of our challenges as a people.”

The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator was accompanied on the visit by the heads of the various UN agencies operating in Nigeria.