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$13m UN fund tears Presidency, N’East govs apart

A feud is brewing between the Presidency and some North-East governors over the control of $13 million fund from the United NationsCentral Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving assistance to 250,000 people in the North-East.

Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator had in a release said the CERF funds would enable humanitarian partners to provide critical psychosocial support and protection services.

However, the UN CERF fund is causing a lot of stir in the presidency, amongst the Governors of the States being ravaged by Boko Haram crisis and some international NGOs acting as intermediaries between the government and United Nations, according to a report by The Brief.

A Presidency source, who declined to be quoted, told The Brief that while the office of the Vice President is demanding that it should be allowed to give directives on how and where the money would be expended on, Borno State, Kassim Shettima, is allegedly.kicking against the idea. According to him, since it was his state and those of Yobe and Adamawa that were badly affected during the crisis, they should be allowed to take control of the fund.

“I’m sure you know that the United Nations approved $13 million dollars for North-East assistance, but that has been a serious issue now considering which office will take a full control of the fund. While the Office of the Vice President is insisting that all reports about the funds should come to his table, on the other hand, the governor of Borno State is threatening the NGOs serving as intermediaries on the implementation of thrusting the fund in the Presidency’s care,” he stated.

The source further revealed that “the powers that be in the presidency ” are also moving to hijack the fund.

The lead Director of one of the NGOs serving as intermediaries between the United Nations and government told The Brief that “some people in presidency are forcing us to accept lesser amount but signing for more. Would you believe that it was $56 million that was approved but these elements in the presidency pruned it down for no just cause?” he alleged.

To date, the UN said that the plan is only 22 percent funded. Since 2015, CERF has supported life-saving assistance in response to Boko Haram-related violence with more than $58 million, bringing the total CERF support to more than $70 million

The UN further added that some $27 million was allocated in March 2015 to assist more than 1.6 million internally displaced people, refugees, returnees and host communities in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. An additional $31 million was also provided in early 2016 to help 700,000 people in the Lake Chad Basin. CERF is a pooled fund that supports rapid humanitarian response.

Donors preposition funds with CERF so that money is available immediately to kick-start relief operations in new emergencies and to provide live-saving assistance in crises that are underfunded. The UN said that at mid-year, donors had contributed $248 million to CERF for 2016 and CERF has allocated nearly the same amount, responding to high demand from humanitarian partners.

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