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UAE set to provide humanitarian response stations across Nigeria

The federal government of Nigeria has secured the agreement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to set up humanitarian response stations across the country in a bid to bring timely succor to victims of disasters.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, disclosed this to State House correspondents in Dubai, UAE, after her interactions with officials of the Emirati government at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
She said Nigeria sought the assistance of the UAE to tackle humanitarian crises arising from insurgency, particularly in the north east as well as to end the endemic poverty in other parts of the country.

Edu stated that the UAE Red Crescent, which is equivalent to the Red Cross, was now ready to build a more resilient humanitarian response system across the country.

According to her, “We have held a lot of interactions at different levels, of course, with the government of the UAE, that’s interacting with the Minister for Tolerance in the country who happens to be a brother to the President. We spoke extensively on how we can work together to pull millions of managers out of poverty.

“We have had interactions with the World Trade Organisation DG, who is one of our own. We have had interactions with the president of the Islamic Development Bank and it’s centered on humanitarian response and other poverty alleviation programs that they can come in to support the country.

“And then finally, we had interaction with the Red Crescent, which is like the Red Cross here in Dubai and they are ready to come into Nigeria and support us to build a more resilient humanitarian response system across the country.”

The minister blamed climate change for the humanitarian crises and poverty in most parts of Nigeria, noting that it has driven people to insurgency and caused security problems in the country.

She said the role of her ministry at COP28 is therefore to “see how we can be part of the climate change adaptation, to get support to provide jobs for people to lift them out of poverty, to key into the Paris Agreement. And see how we can align to ensure that we prevent and mitigate all of those natural disasters that lead people into humanitarian crises.”

Edu added: “Climate change is very critical and central to what the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation does. Most of our humanitarian crises are a result of climate change and most of the poverty which we are tackling is a result of climate change.

“The flooding which you see every other time in Nigeria is as a result of climate change. And of course, there are issues around the drying up of the Lake Chad Basin, as well as the Sahel and the rest of it, which has led to people losing their livelihoods, over 40 million persons, who depend on this Lake Chad Basin, losing their livelihoods.

“Now these people have become very gullible. They go into poverty, and they can now become easy prey for people who want to recruit into all of these terrorist organisations that are causing insurgency.

“We can’t be trying to bring people out of humanitarian crises and then allowing more people to fall in as a result of climate change. And that’s why we are at this meeting.”

Meanwhile, the federal government has observed that climate change and its consequences gripping the earth are attributable to the actions of the developed world that are responsible for most of the greenhouse emissions.

The Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, who said this also in an interview with State House correspondents at the margins of COP28, affirmed that the Nigerian delegation was determined to canvass for a position that benefits the country and its people, saying: “So, I think this year’s COP we are expecting a lot from it.”

He added: “The main focus of this year’s conference has to do with the issue of adaptation, mitigation. And the biggest issue is those of loss and damage, which I think is one that affects most of us because we have for a long time been victims of climate change, which is not really our own making.

“It is the making of the industrialised world that has created a lot of climate issues that have affected vulnerable countries, of which Nigeria is part of it: desertification, coastal erosion and a lot of issues that led to all this. So, this year, I think we are lucky. The current president of COP is very determined. I was very impressed with his speech.”

He assured that the summit would be good for Nigeria given the position already expressed by President Bola Tinubu at the event.

Lawal said that Nigeria would present its feelings on the various issues of climate change effects and remediation, adding: “So, I think this year’s COP is going to be very good for us…That’s why you see a large number of people from Nigeria coming because they’re going to various sectors: the issue of carbon grading, the issue of mitigation, the issue of methane, which the President yesterday, highlighted, Nigeria’s position.”

The minister pointed out that the advanced world has stated their positions and “are already paying $30 billion in that area, and we have over $100 billion in the area of loss and damage, which is the issue of those that have been victims of flood and all sorts of consequences.”

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