The Federal Government has donated one million dollars through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The donation was to address various forms of humanitarian crises in the country in 2021.

This is contained in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, jointly signed by Halima Oyelade of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Godfrey Alozie of ECOWAS and Kelechi Onyemaobi of WFP.

The WFP received the sum of one million dollars  in 2021 from the government of Nigeria as part of an ECOWAS humanitarian assistance for victims of violent conflicts in North-West and North-East Region of Nigeria.

The Federal Government accordingly,  sought the collaboration of WFP in Nigeria to apply the fund for alleviating food and nutrition needs in Katsina, Zamfara and Borno.

“The programme targeted 840 food insecure households (some 4,196 persons) in Zamfara, Katsina and Borno with food assistance.

“The target beneficiaries receive an average cash transfer of NGN 27,000 in their prepaid bank cards or WFP SCOPE cards every month,  to buy their preferred food from local markets.

“Beneficiaries are encouraged to buy a wide range of local nutritious foods from their preferred shops. Cash transfers have an additional advantage of stimulating local markets and agricultural production.

“These are done to prevent acute malnutrition in children in the first 1,000 days of their lives; the programme also provides nutrition assistance to children 6-23 months old and to pregnant and breastfeeding women from vulnerable and food insecure households.

“Some 14,070 children and 1,932 pregnant/breastfeeding women receive specialised nutritious food in the three project states,’’ they said.

In addition to providing life-saving food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable families, WFP is also using the donation to build the resilience of the households in the conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Katsina.

The project would  provide milling machines and training support to 603 returnees from Cameroon and displaced rural women to support them in generating some income to sustain their livelihoods.

The statement quoted Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development  as saying: “This project has provided my ministry the unique opportunity of showcasing best practices of partnership and collaboration in delivering humanitarian interventions.

“It has equally advanced the efforts of the Nigerian government in touching the lives of a critical mass of Nigerians in vulnerable situations,’’ Sadiya said.

Similarly, Dr Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS commission,  said the commission in strong collaboration with the government of Nigeria and the WFP was providing humanitarian support to Nigerians in need.

“We will continue to build the resilience of our people to bridge the humanitarian-development nexus across the West African region for a prosperous ECOWAS community.”

In same vein,  Mr Ronald Sibanda, WFP Representative and Country Director,  said the contribution of the government of Nigeria, through ECOWAS, came at a very critical point as conflict and impact of climate change continued to drive hunger in the country.

“In these affected states, persistent conflict, climate shocks, high food prices and reduced household purchasing power undermine people’s ability to feed themselves.

“WFP welcomes this contribution which underpins efforts to continue providing life-saving food and nutrition support and livelihoods assistance to those most in need in the conflict-affected states,’’ Sibanda said. (NAN)

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