As the world celebrates World Humanitarian Day, ActionAid Nigeria has called on the Nigerian government at all levels; Federal, State, and Local, to uphold its responsibility on the safety and security of humanitarian workers.
ActionAid Nigeria is a humanitarian non-governmental organization working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria.
This call was made known in a statement issued by the Country Director, Mr. Ene Obi in Abuja on Wednesday as the aid agency commemorates the 2020 World Humanitarian Day alongside other development agencies globally.
Mr. Ene Obi commended the staff and all humanitarian workers across the world who have continued to risk their lives to provide lifesaving support and assistance to those in need and distress.
He said “This year, World Humanitarian Day comes at a difficult time when the world is dealing with one of the deadliest pandemics in the history of our human existence, COVID-19.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, inducing hardship, mortalities, and economic crisis for many countries. The COVID-19 pandemic represents the single current biggest challenge to humanitarian workers and aid operations around the world.
For humanitarians and organizations working in Nigeria, this also comes at a time when there is an increased targeting of aid workers. Just last month in North-East Nigeria, 5 humanitarian aid workers who were earlier abducted while on duty saving lives were murdered by Armed Opposition Groups, (AOGs). Since 2011, not less than 47 aid workers have been killed in Nigeria; today, like every other day, we remember our fallen heroes and we send our deepest condolences to their families and friends”.
He also said that the number of security reports against health and aid workers has increased drastically. These include threats and acts of violence that are often fueled by misinformation and fear.
Mr. Obi was of the view that the outbreak of conflict is not unrelated to poor economic conditions and if left unaddressed, the poor economic induced by the pandemic could trigger conflict in areas where violence and insecurity were not major concerns before. Thereby generating even greater risk to aid workers and the need for aid.
He stated that Humanitarian workers should not go about their duties in fear and anxiety.
The Country Director also condemned all forms of violence and insecurity. He, however, called on all actors to respect and adhere to international laws and protocol that guides humanitarian operations. He also charged the government to prioritize the safety of frontline workers leading the COVID -19 response and provide them with the necessary tools and welfare support required to enable them to perform their duties.