By Lizzy Okoji
Canada Acting High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, says his country is making financial and technical contributions to curbing terrorism in the ECOWAS sub-region and the Sahel.
Simard made the assertion on Thursday in Abuja while addressing newsmen in commemoration of the 2021 Canadian National Day.
According to him, a regional and comprehensive approach is what is required to effectively address the insecurity which has affected many countries in the sub-region.
“On the security front, we are providing already funding at the regional level for the fight against terrorism.
“The counter terrorism mechanisms to address some of the issues with ISWAP and Boko Haram are not limited geographically to Nigeria.
“They are issues that are also in the Sahel and unfortunately, many countries.
“But in West Africa, you can find the same situation in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and unfortunately in Nigeria.
“So, there is the need for a comprehensive and regional approach to address insecurity, and that is why we are providing funding at the regional level to do that,” Simard said.
According to him, Canada is engaged in a triple nexus mechanism in addressing the challenges of insurgency in Nigeria.
He stated that the triple nexus mechanism aimed at bringing support for peace and security, humanitarian assistance as well as development at the same time, in an integrated manner.
The envoy noted that the Canadian Government had made funding available to its implementing partners, to address humanitarian challenges and development projects and programmes.
“Last week during that visit, I announced new commitments from Canada.
“I announced a contribution of $26.95 million in humanitarian assistance through international organisations and humanitarian partners.
“Also, I announced a $5.5 million dollars with the FAO for development initiatives to reinforce livelihood of people, who are affected by this humanitarian crises.
“But also, there is the food security crises.
“So, there is the broader insecurity that leads to the food insecurity because people cannot go and harvest their fields, and then it leads some parts of the country to a risk of famine.
“There are around 775,000 people in that part of the country who are at risk of famine because of the insecurity.
“So, for Canada, it is very important to be engaged politically, to convey the message to the authority and to the military, to find solutions to the insecurity in that part of the country.
“Also, we are providing funding through our partners to be able to contribute to the response,” Simard said.
The envoy noted that Canada provided $123 million in international assistance to Nigeria, not only to the North-East, but to the entire country in the 2019, 2020 fiscal years.
According to him, this has made Nigeria the sixth largest recipient of international assistance from Canada, a jump from the previous year where Nigeria was the ninth largest recipient. (NAN)