The United Nations (UN) has urged Nigeria to hold a dialogue and a political process to address the acts of terror in the area, a decade after the initial Boko Haram attack.
Insurgency exploded on 26 July 2009 after Boko Haram sect members clashed with security operatives in Maiduguri. In the mayhem, more than 700 sect members were killed, including their leader, Mohammed Yusuf.
The ten-year remembrance is derived from the clash with the Islamists, then called “Yusufiyya Movement”.
The violent clash sowed the seed of Boko Haram insurgency, which engulfed major cities in northern Nigeria and spilled into Cameroon, Chad and Niger republics.
No fewer than 27 000 civilians have been killed and more than two million people displaced.
The UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, urged Nigeria to embrace dialogue also instead of sole military action.
He made the call in Abuja on Wednesday, 31 July 2019 at the inauguration of “Holding On” Virtual Reality Experience in commemoration of the ten years of crisis in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States.
According to him, the crisis in Northeast of Nigeria presented an intricate web of issues that requires the collective collaboration of the different actors in search of a durable solution.
He said that priority should be accorded to prevention always, development wherever possible and humanitarian action when necessary.
“The only solution to the crises in the Northeast is peace and we must work together to bridge the humanitarian, development, peace, and security nexus in the search for a durable solution to the crisis.
“The crisis that started ten years ago and has devastated entire communities in Northeast Nigeria is still far from over.
“In this very critical period, we must redouble efforts, with the support of everyone at all levels – locally, nationally, and internationally.
“Rising insecurity in the recent months has pushed more than 130 000 newly displaced people on a long trudge.
“Against the backdrop of increased and violent attacks against civilians and humanitarian actors, more than ever we must unite and combine efforts to secure progress and achievements,’’ he said.
Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai-Mala Buni, expressed appreciation to the UN and all other development partners for their support.
He also acknowledged their pledge to continue to give their support for the enthronement of peace, security and stability in the region.
He added that Boko Haram had created the worst humanitarian crisis since it came into existence.
He disclosed that more than seven million people in the three affected states were still in need of humanitarian assistance.
Edem Wosornu, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said that the humanitarian community had in the past four years been trying to support Nigeria at both the state and federal levels.
She said that the community would continue to work with the government even more.
Jubril Shittu, Acting Director, Nigeria INGO Forum said that the remembrance was also a means to mourn 27 000 Nigerians that had died needlessly in the conflict.
“We also admire the courage of the over 7 000 aid workers, who continue to put themselves in danger in service of common good and living the humanitarian principles of neutrality, independence, impartiality and humanity.
“Over seven million people are today in urgent need of assistance and protection, and more than 1.8 million people internally displaced.”