The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, says that the Commission, in collaboration with the Nigerian Government, will provide boreholes, rehabilitate damaged schools and health facilities.
The damaged facilities in the communities are as a result of insurgency in the Northeast of Nigeria.
Brou, who was represented by Dr Siga Jagne, Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, said this in Abuja on Monday, 19 August 2019, at the symposium organised to commemorate this year’s World Humanitarian Day, which has the theme: “Celebrating #Women Humanitarians”.
The ECOWAS president noted that the United Nations has rightly chosen the 2019 Humanitarian Day to honour women, who have acted as first responders to the darkest hour of crisis.
According to him, this year’s campaign on Women Humanitarians supports the recognition that women deserve a part in strengthening of global humanitarian response as well as in protection efforts under the international law.
“This World Humanitarian Day continues to recognise the suffering of millions of civilians caught in conflict, particularly women and children.
“People in cities and towns struggle to find food, water and safe shelter while fighting drives millions from their homes; schools are destroyed, and children are recruited and forced to fight.
“Women are abused and used as tools of war.
“As humanitarian workers deliver aid and medical workers help the wounded and sick, they are directly targeted, treated as threats and prevented from bringing relief and care to those in desperate need,” he said.
Local media reports quoted Brou as saying that the ECOWAS Commission would work with all partners to sensitise the public during peace and conflict times of the need not to see humanitarians, especially women humanitarians as targets.
He added that humanitarian workers should be respected and protected.
Brou said that these important humanitarian professionals should be provided with the enabling environment to carry out their ed tasks.
He assured that the Commission was committed to continue to work with Member States and partners to promote the protection of humanitarian workers through policy orientation and advocacy and that the commission had since 2013 been assisting the affected population in the Northeast of Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Director General, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, noted that the day provides the opportunity to reflect on the risk associated with the provision of humanitarian services in Nigeria.
Maihaj, who was represented by Vicent Owan, Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction unit at NEMA, said it was also designated to honour the heroism, who defy obvious dangers to offer hope and succour in dire situations.
He disclosed that the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 set aside 19 August every year as the World Humanitarian Day.
He said this was to commemorate the 2003 terrorists attack in Bagdad, Iraq where 22 people lost their lives including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
“Sadly, attacks on humanitarian workers have been on the increase.”
“For instance, in 2015 four NEMA staff survived an attack on a camp of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Yola, where they were providing humanitarian supports.
“But another staff, John Iliya was not so lucky as he was killed by Boko Haram insurgents on 8th August 2018 in the line of duty while providing supports in Borno State.
“In April 2019, four staff of the Agency on humanitarian service in community affected by flood in Rivers State were kidnapped and spent more than seven days in captivity.
“Recently, the emergency rescue equipment of the agency in Central Business Area, Abuja, were razed down in another attack targeted at NEMA personnel and facilities,” he said.