Remarks by Ambassador James F. Entwistle – Integrated Humanitarian Assistance for Northeast Nigeria: Grant Signing Ceremony (June 11, 2015)

Abuja | June 11, 2015

(as prepared for delivery)

 I’d like to begin with my favorite Nigerian expression: all protocols observed.

The on-going conflict in Nigeria’s Northeast has created a complex humanitarian and economic crisis that has affected millions of people.  In addition to the 1.5 million people displaced from their homes, many more have shouldered the responsibility of supporting friends and family members who have fled the fighting.  Everyone in the Northeast has felt the economic impact of the insurgency as trade and agricultural production have stopped in many areas.  The challenge of responding to this situation is daunting for the affected communities and states, as well as the federal government.

I recently visited Yola and witnessed firsthand some of the immediate needs of the victims of Boko Haram’s reign of terror.  Food supplies were uncertain, children were out of school, and of course, basic healthcare services were largely unavailable.  The U.S. government has been working very closely with Nigerian state and federal authorities to address each of these needs through a network of international and Nigerian NGOs.

Along with other international partners, we are proud to support Nigeria, but as we all know, the primary responsibility to respond to this enormous challenge lies with the local authorities.  For this reason, I would like to recognize Governor Shettima of Borno State, Governor Jabrilla of Adamawa State, and Governor Geidam of Yobe State.

The people of your states have borne the brunt of the suffering inflicted by Boko Haram and we grieve with you over the lost and shattered lives of the victims.  You have been good partners with us and the international NGOs and UN agencies who have come to work in your states.  We are proud to partner with you and urge you to continue to provide the leadership your states need to get through this crisis and build a better future for your people.

In that spirit of partnership, it is my honor to witness today the signing of these agreements with three UN agencies to provide expanded emergency health care services for the communities and families affected by Boko Haram.  These agreements, supported by our U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), represent an expansion of our already strong partnership with the people and governments of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States.

With these agreements, USAID will provide $10.5 million in additional humanitarian assistance to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the UN Population Fund.  As a result of this funding, the total amount of humanitarian assistance for northeastern Nigeria from the United States will reach almost $44 million.  The funding provided today will supply nutritional supplements for malnourished children, health care services to those living in camps or with host communities, clean water and sanitation, hygiene supplies, and protection services to affected populations.

The United States welcomes President Buhari’s commitment to taking the necessary actions to end the Boko Haram insurgency.  I have assured him that he has no greater partner in that effort than the United States.  As we look forward to Nigeria’s success in that fight, the United States remains committed to extending our partnership to support the Nigerian people’s vision to accelerate this country’s economic and social development.

Again, let me applaud the efforts of our partners, and assure you of our continued support.

Thank you.