The United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has lauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for the ongoing investments in infrastructure and human capital development, saying there is notable progress in education, healthcare, and economic growth in the state .
The UN Resident Coordinator who spoke during a working visit to Enugu State, at the weekend, where he interacted with Governor Ugwuanyi represented by his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo and members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), also commended the governor’s regional push for the south-east to work in unity to advance the peace and development of the region as well as his ongoing efforts at addressing insecurity.
“You (Ugwuanyi) are indeed a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in action and service to your people in Enugu State”, Mr. Kallon added, while applauding the state government “for the investments made in enhancing security in the State”.
He urged the governor to continue to strengthen his administration’s investment in security institutions “to create an enabling environment for peace and security and nurture a whole of society approach in managing security in the state”.
The UN Resident Coordinator disclosed that the mission to Enugu State was “to reinforce the partnership between the UN and the Enugu State Government; to address the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and accelerate implementation of the SDGs to build back better; and to continue to create durable solutions for economic transformation in the state”.
According to him, “I want to commend Enugu State for the optimal COVID-19 response in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic is with us for a long time, until 70 percent of the population is vaccinated. The emergence of new variants in some parts of the world remains a major concern as the virus mutates.
“I encourage the Enugu State authorities to continue to own and lead by example in containing the virus and hold institutions and organizations accountable to ensure compliance with the non-pharmaceutical measures”.
Mr. Kallon equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration for domesticating the Child Rights Act, Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
On education and Child Rights, the UN Resident Coordinator revealed that Enugu State, according to MICS 2016/17, has achieved gender parity in access to both primary and secondary education, adding that “the State budget is one of the most effective and powerful policy instruments to fulfill children’s rights and deliver results for children at scale”.
Mr. Kallon pointed out that several UN Agencies including UNICEF, WHO and UNAIDS have ongoing programmes in Enugu State, stressing that “other UN Agencies are also supporting development efforts in Enugu State through the Federal Institutions”.
In his words: “UNICEF has helped to strengthen the National Health Management Information System (NHMIS) to improve data quality through capacity building, provision of data collection tools and support for data validation process. It has also contributed to progress towards elimination of PMTCT through partnership with communities to engage Voluntary Community Mobilizers (VCMs) who mobilise pregnant women to enter the PMTCT cascade.
“UNICEF has provided resources to strengthen routine immunisation and OBR both within the health system and communities, supported the Enugu State Government to develop a State Social Protection Policy which considers specific interventions that are targeted at improving access of children and young people to key social services and strengthening State systems for the WASH sector.
“WHO (World Health Organization) is supporting Enugu State government in Primary Health Care re-vitalization, COVID-19 outbreak response (coordination, capacity building, surveillance, laboratory, vaccination, and other Emergency Operations Centre pillar activities), Polio Eradication Programme activities, Routine and Supplemental Immunization and Communicable Diseases Control (including Malaria, Tuberculosis, and some neglected tropical diseases).
“Technical and financial assistance is also being provided for implementation of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (and International Health Regulations) including outbreaks of Yellow Fever, Cholera, Lassa Fever and Measles among others”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Gov. Ugwuanyi, through his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Ezeilo, welcomed Mr. Kallon and his entourage to the Government House, Enugu and appreciated the United Nations (UN) for her contributions to the development of Enugu State in particular and Nigeria in general.
Mrs. Ezeilo said that the state government needs “the services and support of the United Nations more than ever before”.
In their separate submissions, members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), namely Rt. Hon. Dr. Festus Uzor (Chief of Staff); Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi (Health); Hon. Chijioke Edeoga (Environment); Hon. Peter Okonkwo (Local Government); Rt. Hon. Princess Peace Nnaji (Gender Affairs) and the Special Adviser to the Governor and the State Focal Person, World Bank/Development Partner Assisted Projects, Hon. Uche Nnadi, praised the conversation and called for greater collaboration between the state government and the United Nations, maintaining that Gov. Ugwuanyi is desirous and committed to impacting the lives of residents of the state positively, in line with the set objectives of his administration and that of the UN.
Members of the UN delegation include WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Molombo, his UNAIDS counterpart, Mr. Erasmus Morah, the Deputy Head, IOM, Mr. Prestage Murima and the Head of Resident Coordinating Office, Mr. Ernest Mutanga, among others.