THE United Kingdom (UK) has pledged to spend £7 million aid in Nigeria through the World Food Programme to reach 430,000 Nigerians, especially in the Northeast, with unconditional food assistance and nutrition support for 108 days.
The amount is part of an extra £47 million aid to immediately provide food, nutrition, water and shelter for vulnerable families in nine countries and regions.
A statement issued by Press & Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos Ndidiamaka Eze indicated that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Northeast is increasing, having risen to 8.9 million people as the world enter 2021.
The statement said over 3.4 million are living in acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in Northeast Nigeria, including 1.2 million living in areas that are inaccessible areas due to insecurity.
This, it said, is set to increase to five million people in the next lean season (June–August 2021), if immediate mitigating actions are not taken.
The UK is the second-largest humanitarian donor to Nigeria, providing £85 million in life-saving assistance in the financial year 2020/21 alone, as part of an overall £258 million of UK development funding in Nigeria. However, the UN Humanitarian Response Plan remains significantly underfunded and access remains a major obstacle.
The UK, the statement added, is also lobbying international donors to provide more funding and calling for all conflict parties to allow safe, sustained, and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance; including 1.24m people the UN estimate are living in areas currently inaccessible to humanitarian actors due to insecurity in the Northeast.
Compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian crises are getting worse, according to UN data published earlier this month, with 235 million people expected to be in need of urgent assistance in 2021 compared to 175 million people at the start of 2020.
The UK Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer, visited Nigeria in November to urge the government, the UN and the international community for increased collective action to mitigate the deteriorating food insecurity, and to address humanitarian access and protection of civilians concerns.
In September, at the launch of the new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab announced an international Call to Action to tackle food insecurity, including a new £119 million aid package to combat the global threat of coronavirus and food insecurity of which £8 million was dedicated to averting any further deterioration in food security in the North East region of Nigeria.
At the same time, the Foreign Secretary also appointed Nick Dyer as the UK Special Envoy on Humanitarian Affairs to drive the UK’s international Call to Action to tackle food insecurity and help deliver on our vision of a Global Britain as a force for good around the world.