The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has reaffirmed his commitment and that of the United Nations system in Nigeria towards supporting the country’s efforts aimed at addressing current challenges such as the current economic recession and responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the North-East. “I am also aware of the numerous challenges in the middle-belt and in the south of the country”, Mr Kallon acknowledged during his one-week mission (10 – 14 April 2017) to Lagos State where he engaged Lagos State government, the private sector, the media and a few Federal Government parastatals. He further committed to supporting the government in implementing the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Addressing these challenges”, he noted, “would require a strong partnership between the Federal and State Governments and the United Nations.” “We need each other’s support and a strong partnership. A Stable North-East is good for business, a prosperous Lagos, is fertile ground for more investment and a stronger Nigeria is good for Africa.” He added.
Mr Kallon, who is also UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, disclosed that his visit to Lagos afforded him an opportunity to engage with the Governor of Lagos State, H. E. Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and reach out to the private sector in order to explore avenues for enhanced partnership in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in addressing or the crisis in the North-East.
Discussing with Governor Ambode, Mr Kallon observed that “the phenomenal past growth and future growth prospects of Lagos should accrue equitably to all segments of society and all geographic areas of the State. There is need to ensure that the fruits of prosperity in the State are enjoyed by all. There is need to sustainably tame the ocean, pay attention to improving access to basic services while addressing poverty in all its dimensions without leaving anyone behind.” He emphasized, noting that the SDGs provided a framework which the State could use to address its development challenges.
“SDGs as a development framework is about national vision, national leadership and national ownership. We thus have a clear roadmap for the SDGs mainstreaming process. We should move with speed to begin its implementation bearing in mind that our comparative advantage does not lie in provision of financial resources but rather in technical expertise, cutting edge policy advisory support, institutional capacity building and convening power, bringing together all development actors around the table to discuss topical development issues.” He explained.
Responding, Governor Ambode reiterated the commitment of Lagos State Government to working with the United Nations. “We are willing and ready to learn from the UN experience and technical expertise.” He said.
Earlier on his mission, the Resident Coordinator paid a courtesy call on Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obansanjo at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta and also engaged with the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria and the need to act fast within the next eighteen months.
Mr Kallon who was accompanied on the mission by a few Heads of UN Agencies in Nigeria and other technical experts, also had interactive sessions with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Lagos State; management of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).