President Muhammadu Buhari while receiving the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, at the State House on Thursday, said that the nation has suddenly gone poor.
“It has been a very difficult year for Nigeria. Before we came to office, petroleum sold for about $100 per barrel. Then it crashed to $37, and now oscillates between $40 and $45 per barrel. Suddenly, we’re a poor country, but commitment to transparency and accountability is not making people know that there is severe shortage,” a statement by his SA (Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the President as saying.
President Buhari said that commitment to transparency and accountability is serving the government in good stead, despite severe shortage of resources in the country.
He asked the UNFPA to bear with Nigeria in whichever area the country could not live up to its responsibilities for now, adding that exploding population and different cultural practices in the country provide fertile ground for research to organizations like UNFPA.
The President thanked the UN agency for its commitment to saving lives in Nigeria, particularly of women and children.
On food security, President Buhari said reports from the North-East of the country were encouraging, as people were returning to their farmlands, with the guarantee of relative security.
Prof Osotimehin, a former Minister of Health in Nigeria, said UNFPA was determined to promote health care facilities across the country, noting that reduction of maternal mortality was doable, if the country paid more attention to access to health facilities, and human resources to run them.
He also encouraged Nigeria to commit to providing resources for health care, on a rollover basis, pledging that the UN would work with the country to provide humanitarian assistance not only in the North-East, “but even extended to the Lake Chad basin”.