The humanitarian community in Nigeria and government on Thursday marked ten years of Boko Haram crisis in the country with a message that humanitarian interventions need to be scaled up and rehabilitation should commence.
A statement by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said the United Nations, international and local NGOs and the Government represented by His Excellency the State Governor of Yobe, the Chairman of the North East Development Commission, and the Director General of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) amongst others convened a meeting on Thursday morning to solemnly mark the tenth year of the crisis in north-east Nigeria and to remember the millions of people affected.
The statement said: “On this occasion, the humanitarian community emphasized 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 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 ten years ago is still far from over.
“We are here today to remember those who have lost their lives in the conflict, and to remind of those still struggling to survive and 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 entire communities, villages and towns across the three most-affected states.
“We have to pay attention to the needs and rights of 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 is of matter to the entire country. We don’t want this crisis to last another 10 years,” said Ms. Josephine Habba, President of the Nigeria NGO Network on Humanitarian Development Initiative (NINGONET), was quoted as saying.
“The Holding On exhibition transports viewers into the homes and communities of internally displaced people who share the evocative stories of their displacement and the significance of the single possession they are holding on to. This is the first time the exhibition visits one of the countries where these stories originate from and it is a unique opportunity for the people of Nigeria to experience these testimonies through their own eyes,” said Mr. Richard Danziger, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
The Thursday’s gathering at the UN house was held around the launch of a virtual reality experience and photo exhibition open to the public being held at Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja from 1 to 15 August. The virtual reality experience is an opportunity for Nigerians and all in the 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 uprooted 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.