Youngest Chibok Girl Turns 20 in Captivity Today

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• Nigeria, Yemen, top neglected global crises list

•US announces $112m humanitarian assistance

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The youngest Chibok girl abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, Maeda Dorcas Yakubu, turns 20 years old in captivity today.

Human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, who disclosed this, added that Yakubu was just 15 years old at the time of her abduction by terrorists from the Chibok school on April 14, 2014.

It also emerged yesterday that African countries, including Nigeria, top the Norwegian Refugee Council’s latest annual list of neglected displacement crises for a third year in a row.

Dorcas who is an exceptionally bright student, resulting in her reaching final year at a record breaking age, was featured in two videos released by the terrorists.

Ogebe asked Nigerians to pray for her release “as there have been no negotiated releases of Chibok girls by the government in over a year now.”

Meanwhile, African countries, including Nigeria, top the Norwegian Refugee Council’s latest annual list of neglected displacement crises for a third year in a row, with the humanitarian organisation saying that thousands of displaced persons had been abandoned by the politicians.

The report obtained from the humanitarian agency’s website by THISDAY yesterday listed Nigeria among the top 10 crisis-ridden countries being neglected by the comity of nations.

In a related development, the United States government said a comprehensive political and security solution was the only way to end the current humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. 

The NRC’s list of neglected displacement crises is based on three criteria: lack of funding, dearth of media attention and political and diplomatic neglect. 

Apart from Nigeria, other countries listed are DR Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Ethiopia, Palestine, Myanmar, Yemen, and Venezuela.

“The crises on the African continent seldom make media headlines or reach foreign policy agendas before it is too late. The price is paid by mothers not being able to feed their children, youth being deprived from education and entire nations becoming dependent on emergency aid,” the NRC Secretary General, Jan Egeland, said in a statement made available to THISDAY on Thursday by the organisation’s spokesperson, Tiril Skarstein.

He noted that there was little willingness, both locally and internationally, to find a way out of the crises in the countries, pointing out that a lack of geo-political importance, too many actors with conflicting interests, and too few willing to protect the interests of the civilians may be responsible for the ongoing chaos. 

“Sadly, the reality is that people affected by crises that are neglected by the public, the media and the politicians, end up receiving less humanitarian relief. The list should serve as a reminder, both for us as humanitarian organisations, for the media and for politicians,” Egeland said.

More than two million people are currently displaced in Nigeria because of the ongoing insurgency in the North-east and the farmers-herders conflict across the country.

Meanwhile, in a statement made available by US Department of State, the Donald Trump administration has announced the release of nearly $112 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help people in Nigeria and surrounding countries in the Lake Chad region affected by the ongoing crisis.

“The funding in today’s announcement will provide life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people, including emergency food, nutrition treatment, shelter, health care, safe drinking water, services for survivors of sexual violence, and support to children separated from their families.

“While we remain committed to helping the people affected by this conflict, a comprehensive political and security solution is ultimately the only way to end their suffering and bring peace to the region. We also call on other donors to step up to address the basic life-saving needs of those displaced and the communities that host them.”

The US is the largest donor for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad region, having provided nearly $761 million since 2017.  

According to the NRC, 8.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria last year, and 450,000 children were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, adding that many people affected by the conflict had limited access to humanitarian assistance, as ongoing hostilities and bureaucratic impediments made it difficult for humanitarian organisations to reach several areas.