Mr Edward Kallon, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, has said that humanitarian response alone cannot solve the many problems in the North East.
Kallon made this known on Monday in Abuja while speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop organised by the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI) on new ways of working.
He said that there should be more focus on addressing the root causes of the insurgency and rebuilding the people of the region to be self reliant rather than complete dependency on humanitarian assistance.
According to him, in tackling the challenges in the North East, development and humanitarian actors need to adapt to the context of the North East by understanding the peculiarity of the root causes of the situation.
“We cannot open a humanitarian shop in North East Nigeria; it is not going to work.
“In the new response plan, we must work towards durable solutions and we must engage partners to ensure that we work in that direction and this workshop is important to achieving that.
“We must agree on those milestones of changes that we expect in the next three to five years in the North East.
“The days are gone when we go in and say we are doing short term relief assistance.
“What the new ways of working is calling us to do is how to sequence early recovery and development activities in the affected areas,’’ Kallon said.
Kallon said a three-way approach must be adopted to achieve a durable solution for the insurgency ravaged region.
He said that there must be continuation of the counterinsurgency action by the military which also includes political processes of cohesion, reconciliation and peace building.
The UN Rep added that while military actions were ongoing, all actors must meet the humanitarian needs of the communities to help them cope and recover from the crisis.
He said the third leg of the strategy was to address the root cause of insurgency which, according to him, included underdevelopment, poverty, human right abuse and climate challenges.
Earlier, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah, the Vice Chairman, PCNI, said that the workshop was designed to sensitise government ministries, departments and agencies, civil society groups and other stakeholders on new ways of working in rebuilding the North East.
Tumsah said that inputs on the new ways of working and its relationship to the ongoing rebuilding efforts in the region were expected at the end of the forum.
He said that the workshop would also review and generate inputs on a number of smart, practical and measurable collective outcomes across thematic areas for focus.
He said that the areas include its focus of response over the next three years in the North-East and other conflict affected areas of the country.