UN provides N12 bn for Nigeria elections

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The UN Secretary-General High
Level Representative to Nigeria,
Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said the
United Nations has provided $60
million (N12 billion), to support
Nigeria’s general elections.
Mr. Chambas disclosed this at a
press conference in Abuja on
Friday.
He said the UN was interested in
Nigeria’s elections because ”the
country is too important for the
sub-region, the region and the
world at large”.
Mr. Chambas explained that the
UN had been involved in building
institutions and capacity that were
required for the elections.
“Several months even before this
election, the UN deployed a Needs
Assessment Mission and based on
that needs assessment mission,
certain areas were identified by
INEC in particular.
“But also by National Human
Rights Commission and many civil
society organisations as to where
they could benefit from
institutional strengthening and
human resource capacity
building.
“We then came up with a budget
which amounted to almost 60
million U.S. Dollars.
“This was mobilised for members-
states and other international
organisations and has been
provided to Nigerian various
institutions and organisations in
the process of preparing towards
this election.
“So that is the kind of ongoing
work that the UN does throughout
the period.
“And this has been the specific
contributions that the UN has
made and the UNDP managed this
basket of funds that was collected.
“And I should say that one
particular intervention that I am
personally proud of is the creation of the
National Peace Council which was an initiative
out of the UN.
“To get a group of Nigerian eminent
personalities and respected citizens to come
together and to lead the clarion call for
peaceful, credible elections.
“So, it is out of this peace council that we have
seen, for instance, the two leading candidates,
Mr President and General Buhari re-affirming
their commitment to the Abuja Accord.
“Which itself is a product of the work of the
UN through the former Secretary-General,
Kofi Annan, other prominent Nigerians such
as Prof Gambari through his Savannah
Institute, Bishop Matthew Kukah through the
Kukah Centre.
“UNDP was very instrumental in working with
them, in bringing on board other partners
which culminated in the establishment of the
National Peace Council.”
He said that the UN’s interest in the election
was borne out of the strategic importance and
value of Nigeria.
“Even at the United Nations, Nigeria is a
member of the Security Council. Nigeria on
the African continent, is a natural leader
providing leadership in the past and present
on the issuer of peace and security.
“On economic issue, Nigeria is the biggest
economy in Africa. Politically, Nigeria is
acknowledged leader.
“So for all these reasons, and of course,
Nigeria is also the largest democracy in Africa
and definitely one of the largest democracies
in this world.
“It is for this reason that the United Nations is
particularly interested in this election and
wants to be of help.”
He said the UN was trying to be of
constructive value to Nigeria in ensuring
peaceful, credible elections.
He said the organisation had been working
with all Nigerian stakeholders, the leadership
of political parties, the civil society
organisations, among others.
The UN representative urged all Nigerians to
be mindful of the burden and responsibility
they carry, adding, “we all want to see a
strong, stable, peaceful Nigeria”.

(NAN)

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