The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is to expand its four-year support to humanitarian and development programmes in Nigeria. Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative and Country Director in Nigeria, said in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, that it was based on a new Country Strategic Plan (CSP) between 2019 to 2022.

The WFP Executive Board approved the Nigeria Country Strategic Plan, during its meeting in February in Rome. The WFP Representative said under the new strategic blueprint, the programme would maintain its vital lifesaving assistance, focus on self-reliance, resilience and peace building initiatives to enable access to food by all, to achieve zero hunger.

She further stated that the plan would also provide an opportunity for WFP to strengthen gender-transformative programming in Nigeria by empowering women and girls to face some of the challenges affecting food security and hindering their participation in decision-making.

“WFP remain committed to the crisis response in the north east, the CSP will however, provide new and wider entry points for future assistance to the country,’’ she said.

Kaulard, however, expressed the willingness of broadening engagement with the government, donors and cooperating partners to restore livelihoods, boost resilience and together reduce the number of people depending on food assistance.

“WFP is working closely with the Federal Government, donor governments, civil society, private sector and other humanitarian agencies and development partners working in the country to develop the new framework.

“It is in line with Nigeria’s National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and is also aligned with two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG2 – Zero Hunger, which aims at eradicating hunger by 2030; and SDG17, which promotes both public and private partnerships.

“Since 2016, WFP’s emergency operation in the North East of Nigeria, in cooperation with the Government authorities and partners, has made a significant impact on the lives of the conflict-affected persons.

“In 2018, WFP consistently addressed the immediate food needs of an average of 1.2 million vulnerable people through the lean season.

“WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future,’’ she said.