19th August, 2022
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale, told President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday that the humanitarian community is committed to supporting Borno and others hit by humanitarian crises.
Schmale made this known in Maiduguri during the event to mark 2022 World Humanitarian Day, graced by the President.
“Allow me to recall that our United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said in this same city just a few months ago, that the people of Borno have endured too much suffering and pain, and that he was inspired by the opportunities he saw to move forward with hope and dignity.
“Mr. President, the humanitarian community is gathered here today precisely to renew our commitment to support the people affected by this protracted conflict in a dignified and future-oriented manner.
“Our diversity encompassing representatives of Government and Non-governmental Organisations, civil society, international NGOs, and of course the United Nations, is a strength that we value and will continue to nurture.
“On this World Humanitarian Day, we are shining a light on the affected people themselves as well as the thousands of volunteers and paid employees who deliver urgent humanitarian assistance across north-east Nigeria, saving countless lives, improving living conditions, and protecting some of the most vulnerable people,” Schmale said.
He lauded the effort of all humanitarians on the frontline, mostly young Nigerians who, he said, on some occasions risk their lives and safety to reach people in need.
He noted that Aid Worker Security Database showed that 35 aid workers were killed in the northeast since 2016, with 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped, adding that safety is ever-present in their minds as they advocate for a safe and secure operational movement.
Schmale said that over 2.2 million people were presently displaced generating an alarming large-scale humanitarian crisis.
“Amongst the troubles facing the region, I am especially concerned about the food security and nutrition situation. Malnutrition is increasingly threatening the survival of more than a million highly vulnerable children, and we cannot let this happen.
“Women and girls, who are disproportionately impacted by this crisis, form about 80 percent of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
“Each day they face an increased risk of violence, such as abduction, rape, and abuse.
“The affected citizens themselves are a critical part of our humanitarian village and must always be part of the solution.
“As my predecessor, Edward Kallon often said, ‘there are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems. The only solution is peace.’ And if I may add, humanitarian needs are the symptoms of a deeper crisis, that, and in addition to peace, requires sustainable development to overcome it,” Schmale added.
However, President Buhari, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, also spoke at the occasion.
They lauded the sustained support from UN agencies and other partners in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Borno and other areas in the country.