Chibok Girls Rescue: Buhari Commends Red Cross’ Role

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross-chibok-girlsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The President, however, urged the group to sustain its humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

He made the remarks on Monday at a meeting with the ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

Buhari said his administration was prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgents,” as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the President said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps, the issue of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

President Buhari also noted that there were over two million of them, “made up of over 60% women and children.

“About 60% of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from.

“It is weighing heavily on government,” he stated.

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Difficult Time For Nigeria

President Buhari said rebuilding destroyed infrastructure was a priority of the government, adding that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed.

“We appreciate all your efforts.

“I am pleased you recognised that our military is cooperating with civil authorities and respecting humanitarian issues.

“It is a difficult time for Nigeria.

“About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year and we are still struggling with that.

“But we will get out of it,” the optimistic President said.

In his remarks, Mr Maurer said the ICRC’s operation in the Lake Chad region was the second largest in the world, after Syria.

He identified the nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the Northeast region, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure.

“We are ready to engage and play supportive role in responding to crisis in Nigeria.

“Security is a lot better than it was a year ago, but humanitarian problems are serious and don’t disappear so quickly,” Maurer pointed out.

The ICRC President commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He said the detention facilities had improved, citing the cases of better health conditions and fewer deaths recorded.

Boko Haram Insurgency: ICRC Increases Aid In Lake Chad Region

Boko HaramThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stepped up its aid in the Lake Chad region, where at least a million people have been forced out of their homes by the Boko Haram insurgency.

ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, revealed that the Red Cross programmes in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, the countries adjoining the Lake Chad, would be expanded.

He was quoted on Reuters as saying that “whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering … even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, it will take years of investment and painstaking work to rebuild livelihoods and services”.

“The combined volume of those activities in Lake Chad are today 110 million Swiss francs ($118 million), which makes this region the third most important humanitarian activity of the ICRC worldwide. Just after Syria and South Sudan,” Mr Maurer said.

The six-year insurgency, waged by Boko Haram to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north-east, has displaced around 1.5 million people.

Rescued From Boko Haram

In the meantime, some 260 women and children rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists’ stronghold, Sambisa Forest, have been relocated from a camp in the North-eastern city of Yola the Adamawa State capital, to an unspecified military facility.

Their movement on Thursday, came after camp officials said they suspected that some of the captives had been communicating with the militants.

The Nigerian troops fighting terrorists in the north-east region of the country, had earlier inflicted another crushing defeat on the Boko Haram militants at the Sambisa Forest, in a major offensive against insurgency.

Military authorities, however, revealed that a large number of the terrorists were killed by ground troops and fighter pilots in an operation described as ‘merciless’.