Emergency officials have rescued a three-year-old girl from the rubble at the Abule-Ado explosion site in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area.
The young girl is simply identified as Favour.
Chairman, Nigeria Red Cross Society (NRCS) Lagos branch, Adebola Kolawole while explaining on Monday how Favour was rescued said she was found amidst the rubbles during rescue operations on Sunday night.
The House of Representatives will partner the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) over the state of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila made this known while receiving ICRC delegation led by the organisation’s head in Nigeria, Mr Eloi Fillion, on Thursday in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila noted that the collaboration was necessary to ease the sufferings of displaced persons, following the Kampala Convention on IDPs which he believes will go a long way in addressing their plights.
“We’re more than happy to collaborate with you. I’m glad you’re working with my Special Assistant on IDPs. He has a lot of zeal for the work. We always look forward to collaboration such as this.
“Nigeria is a signatory. If the House domesticates it, I think the different states have to do the same. We’ll try and see how we can get it domesticated,” he stated.
According to him, a situation where some international conventions demand that organisations such as ICRC could provide assistance to both soldiers and insurgents at the same time would not augur well for the country.
On his part, Mr Fillion said the ICRC would want to collaborate with the House in a number of areas to achieve its mandate in Nigeria, calling for the domestication of the Geneva Convention and the Kampala Convention on IDPs.
He said the international community has given ICRC specific mandate to deliver humanitarian service, saying they are independent and neutral in carrying out their mandate, stressing that the organization will organise a workshop where all issues relating to its activities.
The Afghan Taliban rescinded a months-long ban on the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) working in areas under their control Sunday and restored security guarantees for those working for the organisation.
The militants and the ICRC “consented to following the old agreement on top of new promises in humanitarian aid leading to the Islamic Emirate granting ICRC permission of resuming their activities,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement.
Taliban fighters were instructed to “pave the way for ICRC activities and be mindful of security to this committee’s workers and equipment,” it added.
“We welcome the acknowledgment of our humanitarian principles and renewal of security guarantees to enable us (to) work in #Afghanistan in favour of people affected by the armed conflict,” Schaerer Juan-Pedro, head of ICRC in Kabul said on Twitter.
In April the insurgents banned both the ICRC and World Health Organization (WHO) from carrying out relief activities in areas under their control and revoked security guarantees.
The Taliban did not mention the WHO in the announcement, which it said came following talks with ICRC in Doha.
In August last year, the Taliban temporarily withdrew safety guarantees for the ICRC, accusing the international group of failing to meet its mission obligations to monitor detention conditions in Afghan jails and provide medical aid to Taliban prisoners.
As fears of increased violence soar with presidential elections approaching later this month, Afghan troops and Taliban insurgents have been engaged in heavy exchanges across Afghanistan, with several militant-controlled districts in the far north falling to government forces.
The Taliban continue to strike Afghan installations at will after the militants issued their own vow to continue fighting after US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled negotiations that aimed to pave the way for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan following 18 years of war.
Nearly 22,000 people, mostly children, are missing as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, the Red Cross said on Thursday.
The jihadist uprising which started in 2009 has killed more than 27,000 people, displaced some two million, and spilt over into neighbouring countries, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that the nearly 22,000 Nigerians constituted the highest number of missing persons registered with the organisation in any country.
Some 60 percent of the total were minors at the time they went missing, meaning that thousands of parents do not know where their children are and if they are alive or dead, according to the Red Cross.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said at the end of a five-day visit to Nigeria.
“People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place,” he said.
During the visit, Maurer met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, senior government officials, civil society and business leaders.
He also spoke with family members affected by conflict in the northeastern cities of Maiduguri and Monguno, many of whom have missing relatives.
The Red Cross said that some families were often separated while fleeing attacks, while others have had loved ones abducted or detained and do not know their whereabouts.
“The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names and going door-to-door in camps and communities,” the statement said.
“So far, 367 cases have been solved since ICRC received its first cases in 2013, underscoring the immense challenges that come with finding missing people and reconnecting them with their families in Nigeria,” it said.
Nigerian army chief Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai said on Tuesday the military had done a lot in the war against the insurgents, but admitted that humanitarian efforts were being hampered.
“Large swathes of the northeast of the country remain completely inaccessible to humanitarian organisations. People have also been displaced by fighting many times, making them harder to find,” he added.
The Red Cross on Thursday sounded the alarm Thursday over Ebola’s increasingly rapid spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the latest outbreak of the virus has killed more than 700 people.
Eighteen new cases were confirmed on Tuesday alone, the highest single-day figure in the eight-month outbreak, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.
“The bottom line is that Ebola is now spreading faster, and many people are no longer seeking care,” IFRC’s director of health and care, Emanuele Capobianco, said in a statement.
“It is clear that some vulnerable communities do not trust Ebola responders,” he added.
Poor security owing to the presence of several armed groups, coupled with the resistance of some communities to seeking treatment, has hampered the fight to stem the spread of the disease.
The DRC declared its tenth outbreak of Ebola in 40 years last August in northeastern North Kivu province before it spread into the neighbouring Ituri region.
The current outbreak is the second worst to date, the deadliest being a 2014 epidemic in West Africa which killed more than 10,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee is due to meet in Geneva on Friday to decide whether the outbreak amounts to “a public health emergency of international concern.”
It held off making such a declaration at an initial meeting in October, but concerns have mounted since, notably from Doctors Without Borders, which recently warned that the response was failing to contain the epidemic.
Survivors of a powerful cyclone that pummelled southern Africa were to begin receiving emergency medicine, food and tents on Tuesday as floodwaters receded, while the Red Cross warned of “a ticking bomb” of disease in the storm-struck region.
Cyclone Idai smashed into Mozambique’s coast, unleashing hurricane-force wind and rain that flooded swathes of the poor country before battering eastern Zimbabwe — killing more than 700 people across the two nations.
The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy said Monday “we are sitting on a ticking bomb” as he called for renewed efforts to address the worsening health situation.
As logistical conditions improved and roads to affected communities have been reconnected, the full scale of the humanitarian crisis has been revealed for the first time since disaster hit on March 15.
More than two million people have been affected in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi where the storm started as a tropical depression causing deadly flooding which displaced nearly a million people.
Hundreds are still missing in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“The conditions for rescue are improving. Yesterday a road reopened which was really important to allow officials to work and rescue,” Mozambique’s Land Minister Celso Correa told reporters on Monday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Sebastian Rhodes Stampa also said Monday that 30 aid missions were flying in while others were going by road “so we can really deliver volume”.
“We are packing food and shelter now — they will go out (Tuesday) both north and south,” he said.
In New York, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock launched an appeal to provide Mozambique with $282 million to help with relief efforts over the next three months.
Lowcock told reporters that similar campaigns would be instigated in the coming days for Zimbabwe and Malawi.
– ‘Children looking for their parents’ – Buzi, one of Mozambique’s worst-hit towns located 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of the city of Beira, became reachable by road on Monday — for the first time since the storm hit.
“It will now be much faster to deliver aid,” Stampa added.
In Buzi, survivor Joao Zacaria said that “one man who had 40 cows lost them all. Forty, can you imagine!”
IFRC head Sy, who had just returned from the region, warned of a “high risk of water-borne diseases” like cholera and typhus — as well as malaria, which is endemic in the region.
A procession of mourners carried the coffin containing the body of Tomas Joaquim Chimukme, who was killed by the cyclone, through saturated marshland outside Beira.
Many of those attending wore open sandals in the water which was ankle-high.
The UN has warned that stagnant water in many areas, decomposing bodies and the lack of sanitation in overcrowded shelters in Mozambique could create breeding grounds for such diseases.
The government has already identified some suspected but unconfirmed cases of cholera, Sy said.
“That is the reason why I am raising the alarm. Many of these water-borne diseases are a great risk, but they are preventable,” he added.
“The worst thing is the children crying and looking for their parents… It is heartbreaking,” he said, adding that it remained unclear how many children may have been orphaned.
Medical services in the affected region were stretched even before the cyclone hit and according to aid group MSF, Beira hospital’s operating theatre sustained serious damage. As many as 17 health centres have lost their roofs, it added in a statement.
The South African military has deployed several aircraft to the affected area and an EU-funded World Food Programme chopper is supporting rescue and recovery efforts.
The Red Cross says Nigeria is facing a “major emergency” with tens of thousands of people displaced by recent flooding at risk of hunger and disease if help does not get to them as soon as possible.
“Many of the 200,000 people who fled flood waters are now leaving displacement camps but some of them are finding nothing but destroyed homes and farmland”, Secretary General for the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Abubakar Kende, said in a statement on Thursday.
Some 200 people died in floods across 12 states after the rivers Niger and Benue burst their banks earlier this year.
“The world is ignoring a major humanitarian crisis. Nearly two million people have been affected by this flooding disaster… This is a major emergency,” the Red Cross said.
“If the world continues to ignore the humanitarian needs created by this flood disaster, the consequences are likely to be far-reaching,” it added.
It said unless concerted action was taken, the story of loss and death will be repeated.
“Research shows that the impact of climate change combined with rapid population growth in Nigeria’s fast-growing cities will increase the risk of disasters. We know that Nigeria will continue to face devastating floods like this at an ever-increasing rate.”
The humanitarian agency said although flood waters had receded, another crisis looms large.
“The worst-affected communities rely solely on agriculture as a source of food and income. With no crops expected from the flooded lands for months, thousands are facing the threat of hunger which is one of the causes of vulnerability to diseases,” it added.
The nation suffered one of its worst flooding disasters in 2012 when hundreds of people lost their lives and about two million were left homeless in 30 of the 36 states.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was heartbroken when it got the report of the execution of Hauwa Liman.
ICRC’s Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, a day after the news of Hauwa’s death broke.
“The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts,” she lamented while asking government authorities to intensify efforts towards tackling terrorism in the country.
“We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female healthcare workers were killed back-to-back? Nothing can justify this.”
Hauwa is the second health worker to be killed by the insurgents in one month.
The terrorists abducted her in an attack on Rann, a town in Borno State, on March 1, 2018.
She was captured together with her colleagues – Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, and Alice Loksha.
Saifura was killed on 16 September, while Alice remains in captivity, along with Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl abducted by the insurgents in Yobe State in an invasion in February.
Hauwa and Saifura worked in a healthcare centre supported by the ICRC, while Alice worked at a centre supported by UNICEF.
ICRC said it made sustained and committed efforts to secure the release of the three healthcare workers but to no avail.
It added that these included a last-minute plea for mercy on Sunday to the Boko Haram faction – Islamic State West Africa Province group.
Danzi said, “Hauwa and Saifura’s deaths are not only a tragedy for their families, but they will also be felt by thousands of people in Rann and other conflict-affected areas of north-east Nigeria where accessing healthcare remains a challenge.”
“We urge the group holding Alice and Leah to release them safely,” she pleaded.
The ICRC said Hauwa was killed by her captors “in a despicable act of cruelty”.
It added that the 24-year-old was full of life, becoming a midwife at an early age.
According to the organisation, people who knew her described her as a sociable, dynamic and enthusiastic woman who was much loved by family and friends.
It noted that Hauwa was truly dedicated to her work, helping vulnerable women in her family’s home area.
A faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), has executed another aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), abducted in March this year.
The terrorists killed Hauwa Liman after a deadline they gave to the Federal Government to meet their demands expired, online news organisation, TheCable reported on Monday.
The online platform, which said its correspondent saw a clip of the execution, quoted ISWAP as saying, “We have kept our word exactly as we said, by killing another humanitarian worker, Hauwa Liman, who is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that were abducted during a raid on a military facility in Rann, Kala Balge in March 2018.
“Saifura and Hauwa were killed because they are considered as Murtads (apostates) by the group because they were once Muslims that have abandoned their Islam, the moment they chose to work with the Red Cross, and for us, there is no difference between Red Cross and UNICEF.”
The Federal Government has condemned the killing which comes less than a month after the terrorists murdered another aid worker – Saifura Ahmed – who was abducted along with Hauwa and another of their colleagues.
In a statement issued in London on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, described the killing as dastardly, inhuman and ungodly.
According to him, the government is shocked and saddened at the killing of the aid worker by the insurgents, despite the actions taken by the government and the widespread appeal to save the young woman.
“It is very unfortunate that it has come to this,” he decried. “Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the Federal Government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker.”
Mr Mohammed added, “As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.”
”We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors.”
The minister commiserated with the family of the slain aid worker, saying the government did all within its powers to save her life.
He also thanked all the friendly governments that have continued to work with Nigeria for the safe release of the abducted women, as well as the clerics across religious lines who have been pleading for their release.
The killing of the aid worker comes a day after the ICRC made an appeal to the Nigerian government to help secure the release of both aid workers in captivity along with Leah Sharibu before the deadline expires.
Meanwhile, the insurgents have threatened to enslave Leah and the remaining aid worker, Alice Ngaddah, a Christian who works with UNICEF, according to TheCable.
Leah is the only one out of the 110 girls abducted at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018, who is still in captivity.
She was held back by the terrorists for refusing to renounce her faith.
The Red Cross on Sunday appealed to Nigeria Government and to communities and individuals with influence to secure the release of two abducted health workers, as a deadline set by Boko Haram to kill them approached.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spoke out a month after another hostage kidnapped with them was executed by the jihadists.
“A deadline that could result in the killing of another health care worker is less than 24 hours away,” said an ICRC statement.
“Speed and urgency are critical,” it added.
The three female health workers were kidnapped on March 1, in the remote town of Rann in Borno State following an attack by IS-affiliated Boko Haram faction.
The raid killed three other health workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.
Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for the Geneva-based humanitarian charity while the third, Alice Loksha, worked for the UN children’s organisation UNICEF.
There was no news of the trio until last month. Then the ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa’s execution from the IS-supported Boko Haram faction — Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
In the footage, ISWAP threatened to kill the other two health workers if their demands were not met.
“The ICRC asks all those involved with this case to avoid a repeat of that devastating outcome,” said Mamadou Sow, ICRC’s head of operations in the Lake Chad region.
The ICRC called on ISWAP to show “mercy” and not to kill two health workers who were “doing nothing but helping the communities in northeast Nigeria”.
“Hauwa and Alice are medical workers who chose to work and help vulnerable communities in Rann, an area heavily affected by violence,” Sow said.
The jihadists have increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom as a way to finance their operations and win back key commanders in prisoner swaps with the Nigerian government.
Rann is a remote town on the border with Cameroon where over 60,0000 people who have fled from Boko Haram jihadists depend on emergency food and medical aid to survive.
The ICRC also called for the release of 15-year old Leah Sharibu who was among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist group from a boarding school in Dapchi in February.
While her colleagues were released weeks after the abduction, Sharibu the only Christian among them, was held back for refusing to convert Islam.
“Leah Sharibu…is also being held by the same armed group and everything must be done to ensure she too is released promptly and unharmed,” said Patricia Danzi, ICRC’s Africa director of operations.
“We urge you: spare and release these women…like all those abducted, they are not part of any fight,” said Danzi.
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to secure the release of the hostages.
A government delegation visited Sharibu’s parents on Friday and assured them of efforts to free their daughter.
The United Nations, Amnesty International and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have condemned the killing of a midwife, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa by Boko Haram.
The humanitarian groups in their statements on Monday called for justice and urged the Federal Government to protect aid workers and Nigerians generally from attacks by insurgents.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, described Hussaini’s murder as a cowardly, heinous and despicable act.”
According to the United Nations, Hussaini before her murder by Boko Haram was a young, dedicated and passionate midwife and humanitarian,
“Our deepest condolences go to her family, including her two young children, and friends. The United Nations calls on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. The United Nations also calls for the immediate release of the two aid workers who are still being held.”
Kallon said further that the incident demonstrates the severe challenges that Nigeria continues to face, but will not deter the international community from providing aid to millions of Nigerians caught up in the conflict in the north-east.
“The United Nations stands in solidarity with the humanitarian community,” Kallon added.
The Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in their statement described the aid worker’s murder as a horrific act. He also called for the protection of aid workers in Nigeria.
The international human rights group said Boko Haram has once again proven its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life which must not go unpunished.
“Under the international humanitarian law, aid workers like late Saifura Ahmed and her colleagues must be protected from attack and must not under any circumstance be targeted.
“Saifura was providing desperately needed humanitarian services to people affected by the conflict in the northeast and her senseless killing is a war crime.”
Amnesty International, therefore, called for the release of the two health workers who were abducted in March alongside Saifura.
“Boko Haram must immediately and unconditionally release the remaining two health workers abducted alongside Saifura.
“Now more than ever the authorities must do more to rescue the hundreds of civilians held by Boko Haram, also including Leah Sharibu who was abducted from her school in Dapchi town and the remaining Chibok girls.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its statement described Hussaini’s murder as “tragic killing”.
The head of the ICRC delegation in Abuja, Eloi Fillion, said, “We are devastated by the murder of our colleague Saifura.
“Saifura moved to Rann to selflessly help those in need. Our thoughts are with her family and other loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.”
The agency also appealed to the armed group to immediately release the second ICRC midwife and another health-care worker who was also abducted in March.
“We urge those still holding our colleague Hauwa and Alice: release these women. Like Saifura, they are not part of the fight. They are a midwife and a nurse. They are daughters, a wife, and a mother – women with families that depend on them,” said Fillion.
“Their families and friends miss them dearly and will not give up the hope of seeing them again soon. There is no ideology or religious law that could justify doing any harm to them,” she added.
Three health workers Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, Hauwa Liman and Alice Loksha were abducted in March when Boko Haram fighters attacked Rann in northeast Nigeria.
Rann is a hard to reach town in Borno state, home to at least 40,000 internally displaced people.