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U2's Bono Advocates for Internally Displaced in Northeast Nigeria

  • Faiza Elmasry

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (C) flanked by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, (L) and international rock star Bono meet in Abuja, Aug. 29, 2016.

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (C) flanked by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, (L) and international rock star Bono meet in Abuja, Aug. 29, 2016.

Life is hard enough for the millions of adults living in camps for the internally displaced in Nigeria. For the children, the conditions are far more dangerous. Irish rock star Bono, an ambassador for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has pledged to change that.

After an invitation from Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote, Bono visited a camp of 2.3 million displaced people in the northeastern part of the country, which has been severely hit by the Boko Haram insurgency.

"We know that 50,000 kids are going to die before the end of the year, according to the U.N., if they don't receive ... I think they're looking for $300 [million]," Bono said Monday at a news conference in Nigeria's capital Abuja. "They only got $100 million in response so far. So already, the responses are just only a fraction of what they need to be."

Though the Nigerian military made progress in pushing back Boko Haram, the post-insurgency reconstruction requires substantial funding.

"There are no homes for these displaced persons to go back to, their towns are gone, their villages are gone," Bono said. "They're razed. You know that, I didn't."

Dangote, considered to be Africa's wealthiest man, says a global partnership is needed to boost the domestic relief efforts carried out by his foundation.

"In terms of our own foundation," Dangote said, "we are spending quite a lot of money not only in Borno, but in Adamawa [and] in Yobe. In total, in the three states, we have actually spent over four-and-a-half billion naira [$14.3 million], and we would continue to spend until the end of the problem."

Bono has pledged to raise money and return to the region with help. But, he notes, time is short and the need is great.

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