By Dipo Olowookere
On Friday in Cameroon, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, launched a multi-million dollar inter-agency appeal to help almost half-a-million people in Niger, Chad and Cameroon affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, including more than 183,000 Nigerian refugees.
The 36 partners (UN agencies and NGOs) of the 2017 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) are asking for $241 million for next year to help some 460,000 people – Nigerian refugees, internally displaced people and host community members in the three countries. More than half ($154.29 million) is required for Niger, with the response in Cameroon requiring $67.25 million and $19.61 million for operations in Chad.
The appeal for next year is a $43 million increase over that of 2016, which is only 43 per cent funded. With Friday’s launch of the appeal, UNHCR and the other agencies making the appeal are urging donors to respond with greater generosity to help people in urgent need of help.
“This is one of Africa’s largest displacement crises and the world cannot afford to brush it under the carpet,” said Grandi before launching the Nigeria RRRP at a ceremony in Yaounde. “The suffering and desperate conditions in the Lake Chad region are among the harshest I have seen. Refugees, returnees and host communities who have survived violence and trauma by the Boko Haram insurgency urgently need help,” added Grandi, who this week has visited refugees and internally displaced people in Niger, Chad and Cameroon and plans to visit Nigeria in the coming days.
Despite increased security, people still face tough conditions and insecurity in all three host countries. The main daily challenges include insufficient protection, durable shelter and lack of food, health care, malnutrition, education and livelihoods. Environmental damage is also a concern and the need for water, sanitation and hygiene.
With the situation unpredictable and no immediate prospects of a resolution or significant return, stepped-up funding support from the international community is vital. Humanitarian needs must be urgently addressed and UNHCR and partners need the funding to build on progress made in 2016.
In addition to this, it is critical that the international community immediately invest in development programmes for both refugees and host communities.
During his field visits, the High Commissioner witnessed innovative development oriented activities that benefit both displaced people and host communities, including gas distribution projects in Diffa, Niger, and boats for fishing communities in Baga Sola, Chad.
The High Commissioner committed to advocate with development agencies and donor countries to invest in programmes in the Lake Chad basin so that this crisis can be tackled with creativity and innovation.
After another year of continued conflict, displacement and suffering in an area of extreme poverty, harsh climatic conditions, disrupted economic activity, and limited or destroyed infrastructure, the need for continued protection and assistance is more compelling than ever before.
Humanitarian aid agencies must be resourced to work with governments to reach more people in need, and development money must be urgently invested to take advantage of the new opportunities to provide services and improve lives.
Aid groups are also, in a separate appeal, seeking over $1 billion from donors to help some 1.8 million displaced people within Nigeria, up considerably from the amount sought in 2016.
Ikeja Electric Signs Deal for Better Power Supply to Ayobo
By Adedapo Adesanya
A tripartite interconnected mini-grid agreement has been signed by Ikeja Electric Plc, Enaro Energy Limited and the Ayobo community for the provision of reliable and uninterrupted electricity supply to Ishokan Phase 1 Estate, Mercy Land Estate, and Mercy Land Phase1 residents in Ayobo, Lagos State.
The initiative is in line with the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission’s (NERC) goal of ensuring there is a reliable and steady power supply across communities in the country through partnerships between distribution companies (DisCos) and independent power generators.
The agreement, which was signed on Wednesday at Ikeja Electric’s corporate headquarters in Alausa, Lagos, will rely on the interconnected mini-grid initiative of the power sector to provide the customers with an uninterrupted power supply.
Speaking on this, Mrs Seqinah Adewunmi, the Chief Finance Officer of Ikeja Electric, who represented the Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Folake Soetan, during the signing of the agreements, stated that the initiative was a landmark in the history of the power sector in the state.
She added that those communities will be the first to experience uninterrupted power supply via a blend of grid and off-grid generation and distribution of power.
According to her, “it will demonstrate the possibility that our customers can enjoy 24 hours power supply which is in line with the core mission of Ikeja Electric to be the provider of choice wherever power is consumed.”
She congratulated everyone that has been part of the process, revealing that the initiative will transform the ways in which electricity is being distributed in Nigeria.
She further stated that this initiative will set the pace for bigger things to happen as the plan is to expand to other communities within the Ikeja Electric Franchise area.
On his part, Mr Oluwaseun Smith, the Managing Director of Enaro Energy, expressed his appreciation that the project was finally coming to fruition, adding that the journey began about two and half years ago and was glad that all the efforts towards ensuring the signing of the contract were worth it.
He stated that Enaro Energy was committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure the success of the project.
Obasanjo Charges Africa to Decide Its Energy Future
By Adedapo Adesanya
Former president of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has said Africa must take charge of its own energy destiny and use its rich resource assets for the benefit of its own people.
His comments come in support of the Africa Oil Week (AOW), which is necessitated as the world scrambles to find new sources of oil and gas to meet its energy needs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In this context, Mr Obasanjo noted that African countries cannot be beholden to the unrealistic ideals of the Global North for an exclusively renewables-driven economy, saying this is particularly true when the developed world is itself accepting the need for hydrocarbons.
“Like the rest of the world, Africa must follow energy policies that promote socio-economic development and sustainable hydrocarbon use,” he said.
The former Head of State, who ruled Africa’s largest crude oil producer from 1999 to 2007 said, “Africa is the lowest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions and needs to lift nearly half-a-billion citizens out of poverty.
“Responsible management of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies is necessary to ensure a just energy transition and sustainable growth for our people.”
The European Union (EU) had previously said it intends to cut Russian-supplied oil by up to 90 per cent by the end of 2022, and the announcement has already caused global energy costs to soar.
Africa is one of the potential new sources of energy to replace this supply, with an estimated 61 billion barrels of oil equivalent being discovered in the region over the past 10 years.
Mr Obasanjo’s view aligns with that of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), which also called on member countries and other global institutions to use petroleum as a catalyst for energy security, sustainable development, and economic diversification in Africa through collaboration and partnerships.
Mr Obasanjo has been a major leader of Africa’s post-colonial period, having overseen Nigeria’s transition to representative democracy. Since his move out of the government sphere, he has been a senior statesman, active in defining geopolitical issues – including energy.
He also helped to shape the modern Nigerian oil industry, inaugurating policy reforms that have seen the country become an energy superpower on the African continent.
“Creating an African oil industry that benefits Africa’s people needs strong policy and regulation.
“During my time in government, we launched oil-and-gas policy reforms that helped to build a modern oil and gas hub. There were many learnings that we can apply across the wider region. I look forward to discussing these opportunities for Africa.”
He then called for accelerated dialogue on the sustainable development of hydrocarbons, and the role of Africa as a supplier of global energy needs.
“There has been much talk at forums such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos about a just energy transition. However, we must not allow Africa to be dictated to. The discussions at AOW will be pivotal in charting a new energy course for Africa. We will decide what is best for us,” he said.
Akande-Sadipe Mourns as Another Oyo APC Chieftain Dies
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has expressed sorrow over the death of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Mr Muili Ojuolape.
In a statement on Thursday, the lawmaker from the Oluyole Federal Constituency in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, described the Oyo APC chieftain as a father who would be missed.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe, in the statement signed by her media aide, Mr Olamilekan Olusada, prayed to God to comfort the family of Mr Ojuolape and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
She expressed shock over the death of the party chieftain, saying, “The unthinkable happened. We received the news of the second loss in Oluyole APC. We are saddened by the exit of another committed progressive. It’s difficult to bear the pain!”
“Baba Ojuolape, as I fondly called you, Baba Muili Ojuolape, you were indeed a father to me in Oluyole. As you go to your maker, I pray you to rest in perfect peace. I will surely miss you, APC Oluyole will surely miss you, and APC ward one shall surely miss you too. TASK Oluyole shall surely miss you. My sincere condolences to your immediate family. May the Almighty uphold your family to bear this loss,” she added.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe stated further that, “It is natural to grief when death strikes in a well-knitted family, but we have the confidence that the sacrifices you made in your life to build the APC in your local chapter, Oluyole into a viable democratic institution, shall not be in vain.
“You have played your part and left, and your democratic credentials should always spur us to greater service.”
It was gathered that Mr Ojuolape, a prominent member of the APC in the Oluyole local government area of Oyo State, died on Tuesday after a brief illness in Ibadan.
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