The federal government, through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other stakeholders, has launched a project to provide immediate socio-economic relief to vulnerable migrants returnees impacted by Covid-19 in Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa.
Addressing participants at the launch of the project Thursday in Abuja, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the project showcases the commitment of the federal government in tackling emerging issues and challenges that may confront the protection and livelihood of returnees and potential migrants in Nigeria.
She said: “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, several measures were put in place to contain its spread in Nigeria. These measures posed logistical challenges within supply chains, particularly cross-border and domestic restrictions of movement, which led to disruption in the food supply chains. Suffice it to say that the vulnerable groups most affected included the elderly, the chronically ill, people with disabilities, women and child-headed households, unemployed youths, refugees and migrants, who have lost access to livelihood opportunities.
“To mitigate the immediate impact of the pandemic, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry, launched and extended various financial assistance initiatives for business, families and individuals (e.g. Rural Women’s Cash Grant Programme) and modified the National Home Grown School Feeding programme to ensure that children were still able to receive a nutritious meal, whilst restricted to their homes during the lockdown.
“Further to this, 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from the National Strategic Grains Reserve and non-food items were distributed through state governments to vulnerable individuals and households across the country.
“In line with our mandate to develop
humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions, the Ministry embarked on resource mobilisation to adequately address the growing humanitarian needs. It is gratifying to note that the government of Switzerland graciously responded to support in providing immediate socio-economic relief to vulnerable migrants impacted by COVID-19 in Northern Nigeria.”
She added: “The project is designed to complement actions funded under the UN COVID-19 Basket Fund by focusing on returned and potential migrants residing in northern Nigeria, with beneficiaries drawn from Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa.
“This context-specific project exemplifies our focus on the ‘leave no one behind’ principle of the SDG’s in carrying out humanitarian interventions. It is equally geared towards strengthening sustainable reintegration of returnees, while discouraging irregular migration. I wish to assure you that working with the implementing organisation, IOM, the
project will be effectively and efficiently implemented.
“I would like to express our immense gratitude to the Government and good people of Switzerland for supporting this initiative and other activities that enhance the livelihood of the Persons of Concern in Nigeria. This indeed is an indication of your continued commitment towards our migration partnership. The Government of Nigeria further notes the significance of your on-going partnership with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
“I thank IOM for all their efforts in entrenching better migration management in Nigeria. Furthermore, as our technical partner chosen to implement this project based on competence and experience, we certainly look forward to our continued cooperation in providing humanitarian interventions in Nigeria.”