Nigeria: UN Envoy Urges National Actors to 'Close Ranks' to Ensure Release of Schoolgirls

A United Nations envoy today renewed the world body's commitment to supporting ongoing efforts by the Nigerian Government to secure the safe release of the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the insurgency in the north-east of the country.

The comments come as Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, concluded his second visit to the country since the 14 April abduction of the more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok in Borno state by Boko Haram militants.

"In the face of the threat of terrorism and insecurity posed by the activities of Boko Haram, the Special Representative urged all national stakeholders to close ranks and work together to overcome this daunting national challenge," said a news release issued by the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

In the wake of the abduction, Mr. Djinnit was tapped by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as his High-Level Representative to Nigeria. During the just concluded visit, he renewed the UN's commitment to supporting Government's ongoing efforts to secure the quick and safe release of all the abducted girls with the assistance of its partners.

He also continued his consultations on the abduction and related issues with government officials, prominent Nigerian personalities, civil society organizations, as well as regional and international partners.

In addition, Mr. Djinnit presided over the finalizing, with the UN Country Team in Nigeria, of a UN Integrated Support Package (ISP) to complement the Government's efforts towards securing the safe release of the schoolgirls and addressing the related challenges.

The Package includes immediate support to the affected families, the population and the girls after their release, in particular with psycho-social counselling and helping them reintegrate with their families and communities.

It also includes response to emergency needs both in food and non-food items, early recovery support by promoting alternative livelihood, and activities geared towards addressing the long-term structural challenges through capacity building.

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