Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The humanitarian community in Nigeria and the government Thursday marked 10 years of Boko Haram crisis in the country with a message that humanitarian interventions need to be scaled up while rehabilitation should also commence in earnest.
A statement issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said the UN, international and local non-profit groups and the government represented by the Yobe State governor; the Chairman of the North East Development Commission and the Director General of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) among others, convened a meeting yesterday morning to solemnly mark the tenth year of the crisis in North-east Nigeria as well as to remember the millions of people affected by it.
The statement said: “On this occasion, the humanitarian community emphasised the immense humanitarian needs caused by the crisis and the necessity to continue scaling up life-saving assistance.
“They reiterated their commitment to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. They also reaffirmed their commitment to work together to help people not only survive but also rebuild their lives and their communities.”
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, was quoted to have said: “The crisis that started 10 years ago is still far from over.
“We are here today to remember those who have lost their lives in the conflict, and to thoughtful of those still struggling to survive as well as rebuild their lives. Ten years on, it is not the time for us to spare any effort. In this very critical period, we must collectively redouble efforts, with support at all levels-locally, nationally and internationally.”
He recalled that over the last decade, the conflict has claimed the lives of some 27,000 civilians and devastated communities, villages and towns across the three most-affected states-Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“We have to pay attention to the needs and rights of the people, especially those of women and children, and support local organisations to play a more visible role in the response. The protracted crisis in the North-east region is of matter to the entire country. We don’t want this crisis to last another 10 years,” President of the Nigeria NGO Network on Humanitarian Development Initiative (NINGONET), Ms. Josephine Habba, was quoted as saying.
She added: “The yesterday’s gathering at the UN house was held around the launch of a virtual reality experience and photo exhibition open to the public at Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja from August 1 to 15. The virtual reality experience is an opportunity for Nigerians and all in the federal capital to see firsthand how the crisis is impacting the life of fellow Nigerians living in conflict-stricken areas.”
As it stands, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Northeast remains among one of the most severe in the world with 7.1 million people in need of life-saving assistance and 1.8 million people displaced from their homes-the vast majority of them women and children. The humanitarian community has significantly scaled up collective efforts in recent years, and reached nearly 6 million people with life-saving assistance in 2018.”