UN honors Taraba Speaker for humanitarian intervention, legislation



The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has presented an honorary award to the Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Dr Joseph Kunini, for is humanitarian work and commitment to the wellbeing of refugees and other displaced persons in the northeast.
The award is coming after a brainstorming session between the Speaker and the UNHCR on how to put forward legislation that would protect the rights and wellbeing of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region which was held in Adamawa state recently.
Speaking during the presentation, Deputy Speaker Alhaji Hamman Adama, who presented the award on behalf of the UNHCR, said that the commitment of the Speaker to the wellbeing of refugees and displaced persons was unprecedented.
Adama said that the UNHCR was determined to work with the legislature to ensure that the rights of persons displaced by the northern Islamist insurgency and other crises in Nigeria’s northeast, as well as those who are taking refuge in the region, are protected and respected at all times.
“Today, we present this award of honour to you, Mr Speaker, in recognition of your commitment to the wellbeing of refugees and other persons displaced by the crisis in this region. Your commitment is very obvious and I make bold to say, unprecedented. We hope that this award will spur you to do even more in ensuring that there is appropriate legislation that will protect the rights and wellbeing of these vulnerable sections of our communities,” he declared.
Responding to the award, Speaker Kunini said that he was deeply humbled by the recognition and pledged to do even more within his capacity as an individual, legislator and leader of the state House of Assembly.
Kunini said that the whole essence of representation was to be able to reach out to the neediest and most vulnerable segments of society.
“Today, I am receiving this award […] barely two weeks after I got another from a group of youths, also in recognition of my humanitarian services to the people, especially the displaced persons and other vulnerable sections of the society. For me, I believe that service to such groups is one of the most natural things to do. It constitutes a major essence of representation that should be held in high esteem.
“I must say that this award is most humbling and it has further strengthened my resolve to work for the good of these vulnerable members of our society, both as an individual and as the Speaker of the House. We would continue to provide legislation that would guarantee the security and wellbeing of refugees and other displaced persons.
“Our primary concern, however, goes beyond mere assistance towards their wellbeing. Their total rehabilitation remains our top priority. The state Governor, Darius Ishaku, is also passionate about their wellbeing and we are working collaboratively to ensure that persons displaced by the crisis in the state return to their homes and lives as soon as possible, with all the necessary assistance that the state government can offer.
“Let me use this opportunity to also commend the UNHCR for the good job they are doing in the region and, indeed, across the world. We must all work together for the good of the less privileged of our communities. That is the essence of our elevation,” Kunini stated.

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