Borno State Governor Demands Fair Security Progress From UN

“You either tell us the right thing, or we shall stop attending this meeting,” Zulum said after a UNOCHA presentation on the security situation in Borno and the Lake Chad basin.

In a dramatic development, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has challenged the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to provide accurate information on the improving security situation in Borno state and the Lake Chad region or face the state’s withdrawal from future engagements. 

Zulum voiced his concerns during the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) Governors Forum meeting in N’djamena, Chad. He disputed a presentation on Humanitarian Situation and Trends by a UNOCHA representative during a panel session on Security Trends And Dynamics In The Lake Chad Basin Region,  which he claimed misrepresented the factual situation on the ground. 

Violet Kakyomya, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System and Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad, made a panel session presentation on emerging trends. She painted a grim picture of how the security situation has worsened in recent years with increasing attacks and soaring numbers of IDPs. 

The Humanitarian Coordinator inferred that to adequately address the region’s most pressing humanitarian needs and assist 8 million targeted people, response plans in the region require US$2.8 billion.

This viewpoint did not seem to be in sync with the governor’s records. 

“We cannot continue to listen to people coming here to give incorrect information about the security situation in Borno state and the Lake Chad region,” declared Zulum. 

He cited the presence of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) commander at the meeting, who could testify to the vast improvements in Borno’s security situation.

Zulum highlighted various successes. He claimed that the government had resettled two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) since 2019 though previous estimates were given as around one million. He also mentioned the reopening of old roads and communities and a 400 per cent increase in safe cultivation areas for farmers. He noted the improved security situation in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon under President Bazoum. 

The governor criticised the UNOCHA’s portrayal of progress, saying it negated the significant contributions of the World Food Program, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and others. 

“As the chairman of the Northeast Governors forum, there is tremendous security improvement in the Northeast region. IDPs are returned to their communities. Why are we not celebrating our success stories?” he asked. 

Zulum asserted that while international organizations’ support is acknowledged and appreciated, it’s crucial to recognize the region’s gradual return to peace. He suggested a shift towards more sustainable and durable solutions. 

“You either tell us the right thing, or we shall stop attending this meeting,” he said.

The Regional Strategy for Stabilization meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum is being coordinated by LCBC in partnership with the Africa Union.  

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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