Mrs. Aisha Buhari, wife of Nigerian president said she will convene a meeting of First Ladies of West African states by 28 February in Abuja to adopt a strategy to assist women and children affected by the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin.
This was disclosed at the technical session convened to work out the strategy in Sokoto.
The Lake Chad Basin has been described as conflict-prone, with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) reporting 3.8 million people facing severe food insecurity and hunger as at July 2016.
Among the issues Aisha Buhari planned to put on the table are establishment of a coordinating mechanism in the region, distribution of relief materials, provision of psychosocial support to the victims and empowerment of women and girls. She also wants to kick start an advocacy to spotlight the full magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in the region.
Mrs Buhari was represented at the Sokoto meeting by Dr. Hajo Sani, a Senior Special Assistant to the President in the Office of the Wife of the President. Dr. Sani said the Abuja meeting will attract the First Ladies of Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali, as well as Development, Voluntary and Civil Society Organizations.
Aisha had initiated discussions on the issue with the First Lady of Niger, Dr. Malika Issoufou Mahamadou, on the sidelines of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, last year. Mrs. Buhari and Dr. Mahamadou were concerned with the fate of fleeing populations and refugees in the Lake Chad region, moving within and across national borders in search of safety and settled life.