President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday received officials of the United Nations (UN) working in Nigeria and pledged the country’s commitment in ensuring the smooth implementation of the global body’s programmes in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the delegation led by the Resident Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, were on a thank-you visit to the president over the re-building of the UN House bombed by Boko Haram insurgents in 2011.
The president expressed satisfaction with the work the UN had been doing to improve the lives of women, children as well as vulnerable persons.
“I listened to your comprehensive address, I thank you very much for what you have been doing for the country; for all of us in the country, especially for women and children.
“I’m very grateful that the United Nations has put up such a very formidable team that is dedicated in helping us and I’m pleased you are working with our stakeholder ministries for the help you are giving to women and children especially.
“We will continue to participate as much as possible to make your job visible and comfortable and please do not hesitate to inform us through the Minister of Foreign Affairs whenever there is any need for you in the course of your assignments here.
“I’m very, very impressed with the number of programmes you are executing and I’m pleased that the stakeholder ministries are complementing your efforts,’’ he said.
Earlier, Kallon had lauded Nigeria’s contributions toward the actualisation of the cause being pursued by the UN, saying that its commitment had always prompted the UN to work even harder for the good of Nigerians.
He also commended the government for the measures so far taken to stem the spread of Covid-19 and the ones taken to cushion its resultant effects.
The UN chief, however, urged the government to see COVID-19 as an opportunity to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
Kallon, who also congratulated the president and Nigeria on eradicating polio, expressed the UN’s commitment to standing with the country to ensure it remained polio-free.
“With the support of international partners over the past two decades, Nigeria has made great strides in addressing many of the killers and cripplers among us.
“Under-5 mortality from diarrhea and respiratory infections, HIV, malaria, TB, and neglected tropical diseases are all in retreat.
“Polio is no longer endemic – congratulations on a job well done. This progress has been achieved through leadership and sustained investment in building human resources for health and strengthening health systems,’’ he added.
Kallon urged the government to put into action bold and effective changes to restructure and reform government’s health institutions to improve efficiency and cooperation across the board.
He described the United Nations as Nigeria’s first partner in this challenge, adding “we are ready to do our part.”
The UN Coordinator also commended the Buhari administration for its efforts to check insurgency and other violent crimes in the country.
He said: “It is very clear to us that there is a lot that has happened already in controlling the level of insurgency in Nigeria.
“I have been part of this endeavour for three and half years, from the time we had no access to the affected population, to the point where we had access to the affected population who are currently in IDP camps.
” And that is due to the gradual improvement of security that was possible.
“Most of you could remember at the beginning of this crisis, there was no access to the affected population because of insecurity, that element has improved over the years.” (NAN)