Senate: Insecurity Creating Humanitarian Crisis In Northern Nigeria

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate Thursday frowned at the mounting level of insecurity in the country especially in Northern Nigeria.
It said the growing insecurity was creating humanitarian crisis in the Northern part of the country.

The upper legislative chamber emphasised that the ongoing attacks by the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) in the North East, farmers-herders clashes in North Central and North West, as well as rampant cases of banditry, were fueling crises in the country.

To address the issues, the Senate has mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance to release funds to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Refugees Commission to enable them address the humanitarian crises.

As part of a wider arrangement to address the crises, the Senate said it will organise a conference on North East humanitarian issue. The date and the composition of the committee are yet to be announced.

In his remarks, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, criticised government agencies responsible for the management of funds offered by donor agencies.

He also criticised the practice where the bulk of the money released by donor agencies are spent on overhead by those responsible for the implementation of the intervention programmes

Lawan said: “The issue of the displaced persons and IDPs mentioned, are a subject of debate. It is a serious issue. We have to come up with very coordinated approach to handle the situation in the IDP camp.

“As a country, we we can afford to deal with the situation. We are not a very poor country. I think what we lack is the coordination to deal with the situaion there and of course we deploy so much resources.

“We get from within and from foreign donors, but there is lack of focus and prudence in the use of those resources. What we need to do is to engage the National Planning Commission because the donor agencies should really declare exactly what is being brought and the what the IDPs would have.

“In a situation where the donor agencies use the monies for rent and other things is wrong. I think is not acceptable. The bulk of the funds must be expended on the IDP. The committee on special duties will handle”.

These resolutions of the Senate which was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume entitled “The dire state of Humanitarian crises in Nigeria especially Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States,” also urged the Executive arm to pay more attention to the humanitarian crisis caused by insecurity.

Presenting the motion, Ndume painted a gloomy picture of the realities on ground and put the current number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the North East at over 7.1 million.

He added that the number of people in need of food stands at 2.7 million, while malnourished children are about 1.1 million.

According to him, not less than $1.2 billion (N420 billion) is required to address the humanitarian crises as soon as possible.

His words: “The humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram and ISWA in the North East, North West, farmers-herders clashes in the North Central region and rampant cases of banditry are of concerns.

“Already, more than 7.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in the North East. The violence continues to disrupt livelihoods and deepening the impact of chronic vulnerabilities such as food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics in affected communities.”