The United Nations is committed to supporting Nigeria’s efforts to ensure the release of the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants, the world body’s newly-appointed envoy to the country said today, as he announced that the UN has initiated preparation of a “support package” that will include assistance for affected families and the girls after their release.
“I wish to reiterate the United Nations’ solidarity with the abducted schoolgirls and their families, the people and Government of Nigeria,” declared Said Djinnit, wrapping up his first visit to the country after being tapped by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as his High-Level Representative.
In a statement issued from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Mr. Djinnit said the abduction of the more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok on 14 April has been widely condemned by the UN, including the Secretary-General and the Security Council. “I wish to reiterate the strong condemnation by the United Nations of this unacceptable act of abduction of innocent girls,” he added.
Pledging the Organization’s commitment to assist the Nigerian authorities, he announced that the UN has initiated the preparation of an integrated support package that includes immediate support to the affected families, the population and the girls after their release, in particular with psycho-social counselling and helping them reintegrate with their families and communities.
“The package will also include response to emergency needs both in food and non-food items, early recovery support by promoting alternative livelihood, and activities geared towards addressing the long-term structural challenges through capacity building,” he added.
As for the security situation, Mr. Djinnit expressed deep concern at the lingering insecurity in north-eastern Nigeria and noted the UN’s support to the country’s efforts to restore security in the affected areas, while stressing the importance of due respect for human rights and addressing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the north-east.
During his four-day visit, Mr. Djinnit met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other senior Government officials, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Justice. He also met with the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the abducted girls, and the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).