UN raises concerns over fuel, violence on Nigerian elections, Naira scarcity
The United Nations (UN) System in Nigeria has expressed concerns over possible adverse effects of the lingering fuel scarcity, the difficulties imposed on Nigerians by the Naira swap policy and violence on the forthcoming 2023 general election.
These issues were raised at the first quarterly briefing of the diplomatic community convened by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthias Schmale, at the UN House on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, even as the UN restated its commitment to supporting Nigeria in ensuring peaceful, credible, and inclusive elections in 2023.
According to a statement issued on Thursday by the National Information Officer, UN Information Centre (UNIC), Dr. Oluseyi Soremekun, the UN Resident Coordinator underscored the importance of peaceful and credible elections for the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy and that of the African region.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Schmale noted, had made some significant progress in preparing and administering elections, and “we need to acknowledge the significance of this. At the same time, INEC is facing some challenges for instance around logistics, power supply, employing and deploying the right personnel at the right time.”
The UN Resident Coordinator also expressed concern about some strong statements of intolerance and hate speech across party lines in public space and urged all political parties and their candidates to exercise caution and to adhere to the terms of the Peace Accord they signed.
On the UN Strategic Development Cooperation Framework signed with the government of Nigeria, Schmale explained that it was imperative for the UN to support the government in accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Amongst other transformative initiatives, he emphasised the importance of domestic resource mobilization, private sector investment and conducive business environment as critical success factors in moving the needle in achieving greater prosperity for all in Nigeria.
Speaking on climate change, the Resident Coordinator reaffirmed the reality of climate change and its impact in Nigeria and called on the international community to support accelerated climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
“Last year’s devastating flood episodes and the Cholera outbreak have shown that humanitarian crises are not limited to the North-East alone. Therefore, we need to support the government in addressing humanitarian challenges outside the North-East,” he added.