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COVID-19: UN vows to support poor Nigerians, pandemic recovery

By Hassan Zaggi

The United Nations (UN) has expressed its commitment to support Nigerians who have been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global body has also vowed to support Nigeria in its effort to build back a more resilient society during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery

Head of Mission and Representative, World Health Organization, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, disclosed this during the celebration of the UN day in Abuja, Monday.

The UN Day which is being marked on October 24 every year, is the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force.

The day offers the opportunity to reassert and amplify the purposes and principles that have guided the UN for the past 76 years.

“Due to the pandemic, millions of Nigerians have been devastatingly affected through the loss of lives and livelihoods, increasing the levels of poverty and suffering in this country.

“The UN is committed to supporting Nigerians living in poverty and to building back a more resilient society during the pandemic recovery,” says Dr. Mulombo.

He noted that: “A number of UN agencies are working to create economic empowerment and resilience against poverty for the Nigerian people.

“For instance, UNDP is supporting the Government of Nigeria’s Jubilee Fellowship; ILO is driving the Decent Work Country Programme; UN Women is leading Generation Gender Equality; and UNICEF has supported Generation Unlimited.

“Now is the time to intensify our efforts in the fight to eliminate poverty and create hope in the lives of the millions impacted the pandemic.”

While calling for adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, the UN Chief said: “I would like to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over.

“We must therefore continue to adhere to all protocols and vaccinate at least 70 percent of the Nigeria population to ensure herd immunity. We shall continue to support the Government of Nigeria as it rolls out the allocation of 13.65 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the COVAX facility for Nigeria.”

He, however, noted that this year’s anniversary falls at a time when the global leaders are due to converge at COP26 in Glasgow.

“The recent IPCC report on climate was a code red for humanity. We are running out of time to bend the curve and cut emissions globally by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“This would be sufficient to keep global temperature rises to the 1.5°C agreed in 2015. We are not there yet. Hence, Glasgow is the most important climate conference since Paris,” he said.

While commending the efforts of the UN workers in Nigeria, he said: “In Nigeria, the UN System consists of 21 resident and non-resident agencies working together with a shared vision of a better future for the Nigerian people.

“Permit me at this point to salute the courage, resilience and commitment of the UN Nigeria staff to our mission and mandate despite the many challenges we regularly face.

“I thank you all for your dedication and hard work over the past year which was undertaken in the difficult circumstance produced by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thank all of our partners, especially, the Government of Nigeria for their support and partnership throughout this period of time.

“On a more solemn note, we must remember that August 26, 2021, marked the 10th anniversary of the bombing of UN House that killed 21 of our staff and partners. On this UN Day, we remember them and keep them forever in our hearts.

“Their memory will inspire us to do even more for the development of this great nation and the greater good of humanity.”

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