ECOWAS Gives $1.4m To Borno State To Tackle Humanitarian Crisis

ECOWAS-courtThe Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has donated $1.4 million to the Borno State government, as part of its contribution towards assisting the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel De Souza, led other top officials of the Western Africa umbrella body handed over two separate cheques to the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima.

According to Mr Souza, one million dollars came from ECOWAS reserves while the second cheque of $400, 000 was from the Federation of the International Red Cross Community.

He said they were in Borno State to share the feelings and concerns of the Internally Displaced Persons and refugees in Nigeria.

The ECOWAS Commission President further explained that ECOWAS was concerned about happenings in northeast Nigeria, even as he said he was impressed with the manner the state government was able to carry on with developmental programmes despite the huge security challenges facing the state.

“We have heard reports of how the markets, the schools and public infrastructures were burnt and we are here seeing how you have been tackling the challenges in phases, which is quite commendable and we are congratulating you for that exemplary steps,” Mr Souza stated

Support And Solidarity

He had earlier met with some officials of the United Nations, as well as the officers of the National Emergency Management Agencies who had given him some insights and data of the humanitarian situation in the state.

“It was on that note that we have come to contribute our own support and solidarity and we are fully backing you in all your programmes going forward. And we may not be able to reach the entire four million people of the state, but we will support you in such significant manner to see that you touch the lives of the people positively,” he told reporters.

He was accompanied by the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Muhammad Sidi, who handed over food items and building materials including to complement the rebuilding effort of the Borno State government in the ongoing reconstruction of affected towns.

Governor Shettima expressed his personal appreciation and that of the state government to ECOWAS for the cash and food support presented to the state.

He also thanked NEMA for its generosity to the state.

“We thank you most sincerely for your kind gesture for assisting our communities that are in distress. The large quantum of food items donated would go a long way in alleviating the food security problems facing the state.

“As for the one million dollars you have contributed, I do not want the money to pass through our hands. I will rather give it to NEMA to help us buy food stuff. We have the Maiduguri flour mill here which can process maize into flour for proper human consumption.

“The one million dollars would go a long way in feeding our people especially those living within the host communities,” Governor Shettima told ECOWAS representatives.

The building materials donated by NEMA include 2,600 bundles of Roofing sheet, 2,500 piece ceiling boards, 350 bags of 3″nails and 350 packets of zinc nails to be dispatched to Bama, Hawul and Gamboru Ngala for rebuilding.

Other items include 3,600 bags of rice, 1,400 bags of bean, 1,000 bags of millet.Over two million persons have been displaced in the northeast region of  Nigeria, with over six million devastated in the region.

A United Nation’s agency, UNICEF has called for aid to come in form of nutritious food to save over 75,000 children, pregnant women and nursing mothers that it said may die before the end of the year if no aid came.

Presidency Refutes Mass Starvation Claims By Aid Agencies

Presidency Refutes Mass Starvation Claims By Aid AgenciesThe Presidency has refuted claims by some aid agencies that there is mass starvation in IDP camps set up in northeast Nigeria.

A statement from the Presidency says it is concerned about the attempts to whip up fears that the humanitarian crisis is worse than being reported.

While it recognizes that local and international humanitarian responders including the United Nations have done an immeasurable amount of effort filling in the gaps wherever they existed, the federal government says it is not true that 100,000 or even a million people will die because government is unable to provide care at the camps.

The Presidency says it is handling the situation with great sensitivity and has put measures in place to cushion the humanitarian challenges with collaboration between NEMA and the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative.

Both organisations provide raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centers, host communities and satellite centers while the state governments complement with condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps.

Nigerian Refugees In Cameroon Get Food Aid From NEMA

nema-vists-nigerian-refugees-in-camerounAbout 80,709 Nigerian refugees, mostly from Borno State, in the Republic of Cameroon, have received 1,460 bags of assorted food items from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The items, which were delivered at the weekend, were handed over to the displaced persons on behalf of the Nigerian government for the feeding of the refugees displaced by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s northeast.

They are taking shelter in Minawao and other locations in the far north region of Cameroon.

According to the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sidi, who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore SBB Muhammad, handed over the items to officials of Cameroon for onward presentation to the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) which has been managing the camp.

He said the items were meant to provide succour to the Nigerian refugees.

nema-food-itesms-to-idps-in-caameroun
Bags of food items delivered to the refugees

In his message, the Director General said NEMA would continue to liaise with the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to ensure that all Nigerian refugees were living in good condition.

Mr Muhammed appealed to youths in the camps to desist from using drugs and urged them to always “be of good character and be good ambassadors of our country”. Some youths in the camp were recently arrested for drug use.

He assured the refugees that the Nigerian government had not forgotten them and that the government was doing everything possible to evacuate them back to their respective states.

The NEMA boss also thanked the Republic of Cameroon, INGOs and UNHCR on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria for hosting and providing them with protection.

Speaking through an interpreter, an official of the Government of Cameroon, who received the items, Mrs Menguene Marie, appreciated the Nigerian government for providing succour to its citizens and also thanked the government of Cameroon for its support to the refugees.

food-items-for-refugees-in-cameroun
NEMA officials and Cameroonian officials taking stock of items delivered

Appreciating the efforts of the Nigerian Government, Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Refugees, Mr Asshigar Mohd, from Bama Local Government, said: “We have been in Minawao camp for three years, we do have regular feeding, have school and hospital, but we want leaders of our communities back home to visit us”.

He appealed to the Nigerian government to evacuate them to their places in Borno State since peace had returned in most of the communities.

The items delivered include 650 bags of rice, 300 bags of Guinea corn, 200 bags of Millet, 150 bags of Beans, 10 bags of Ground nut, 50 bags of flour, 50 bags of sugar and 50 bags of salt.

Others include 100 cartons of tinned tomato, 50 cartons of Maggi Cubes, 150 cartons of spaghetti, 150 cartons of bath soap and 50 cartons of vegetable oil.

‘Provided With Humanitarian Relief’

At least 239,000 Nigerians are still refugees in neighbouring countries where they fled to in the heat of insurgency in the oil-rich nation’s northeast, an emergency management agency has said.

The figure was contained in a report of humanitarian relief intervention by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) released recently.

It also says that about 29, 581 Nigerians, who fled their communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to Republic of Niger and Cameroon as a result of insurgents’ activities had voluntarily returned to Nigeria.

According to the report, 13,046 Nigerians returned from Niger Republic in May, 2015 and were received in Geidam, Yobe State while Between April and December, 2015 NEMA received about 16,595 Nigerians that have voluntarily returned from Cameroon through the Sahuda border crossing area near Mubi in Adamawa State.