North-east: FG Lifts Ban on Two International NGOs

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Sadiya Umar Farouq

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government has announced the lifting of the suspension of the activities of Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps by the military under the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre in Borno and Yobe states.

The Nigeria Army had on September 18, declared the two international NGOs “persona non grata” for allegedly assisting Boko Haram insurgent group with food and drug supplies.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, announced the lifting of the suspension at a press conference in Abuja wednesday.

She made the announcement in the company of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon.

Farouq said the federal government was concerned about counter terrorism efforts, adding that all measures must be in place to support its efforts to end the conflict in the north-east.

The minister added that while the suspension of Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps is temporarily lifted, the concerns and recommendations of the Board of Inquiry (BoI) will continue to receive attention and scrutiny to address.

She also said that issues raised by Kallo will be addressed on the seven-point agenda to strengthen coordination and partnership between the humanitarian community and the federal government in the north-east.

According to her, the issues will be raised at the planned civil- military coordination workshop in Maiduguri by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and other stakeholders from November 6-8.

She listed some of the issues to be addressed at the workshop to include: establishment of high level policy forum on humanitarian assistance in the north-east by the ministry to discuss all emerging issues with the humanitarian response in the war ravaged zone.

Others include vetting of all humanitarian vendors in the north east to be conducted by the federal government before engagement by humanitarian actors, clearance of all NGOs by the government before deployment in humanitarian activities, submission of monthly reports on humanitarian activities, including funding received and source of funding, projected funded and location in addition to number of people assisted.