The UN Secretary-General High Level Representative to Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, says the United Nations (UN) had donated $60 million (about N1.2 billion) to support the smooth conduct of Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, Chambas said the UN’s interest was spiked by the importance of Nigeria to Africa and the world at large.
“Several months even before this election, the UN deployed a Needs Assessment Mission and based on that needs assessment mission, certain areas were identified by INEC in particular.
“But also by National Human Rights Commission and many civil society organisations as to where they could benefit from institutional strengthening and human resource capacity building,” said Chambas.
The findings brought the UN to come up with a budget of about $60 million which was mobilised for member-states and other international organisations and has been provided to various institutions and organisations in Nigeria, in the process of preparing towards the 2015 elections.
Chambas stressed that the UN’s interest in the election was borne out of the strategic importance and value of Nigeria.
“Even at the United Nations, Nigeria is a member of the Security Council. Nigeria on the African continent, is a natural leader providing leadership in the past and present on the issuer of peace and security.
“On economic issue, Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa. Politically, Nigeria is acknowledged leader.
“So for all these reasons, and of course, Nigeria is also the largest democracy in Africa and definitely one of the largest democracies in this world.
“It is for this reason that the United Nations is particularly interested in this election and wants to be of help.”
He said the UN was trying to be of constructive value to Nigeria in ensuring peaceful, credible elections. The international body has therefore been working with all Nigerian stakeholders, the leadership of political parties, the civil society organisations, among others.
In the meantime, Chambas urged Nigerians to live up to their responsibilities of ensuring a strong, stable, peaceful Nigeria.