Nigeria Ranks Fifth in Global Humanitarian Crises
…Boko Haram Remnants Turn Bandits – Buhari
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Amid insecurity occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and herdsmen attacks on communities across the nation, the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) has disclosed that Nigeria is rated fifth largest humanitarian crises country in the world.
President of the Committee, Mr Peter Maurer made the disclosure yesterday when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
President Buhari had told Maurer that remnants of Boko Haram in the North-east region of the country were bandits, warning that the government would continue to treat them as such.
According to him, Boko Haram had been degraded, but its members were still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands.
“We are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries. We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits, and we will continue to treat them as such”, President Buhari stated.
He said the government was concentrating on repairing damaged infrastructure, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, securing their communities, so that they can return home.
He applauded the support of the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations, noting: “The situation of the displaced persons is very pathetic. Some children don’t know where their parents are, neither do they know where they come from.
“We are focusing on education and healthcare, along with rebuilding of infrastructure.
“The agency formerly under the leadership of Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd) and now headed by Major-General Paul Tarfa (retd) is quietly making an impression. We are dedicating lots of resources to the area”. He added.
Buhari disclosed that great progress has equally been made in disabusing the minds of people that the insurgency was religious.
“How can you kill people, and say ‘God is great.’ It’s either you don’t know that God, or you don’t know what you are talking about. God is God of justice. And the people have understood the message well, so recruiting is now difficult for the insurgents,” the President said.
Maurer said Nigeria was the 5th largest operation of ICRC worldwide, and the organization would continue to render humanitarian action to people affected by violence.
Peter Maurer also stressed upon the need for the ICRC to engage with all stakeholders to be able to carry out its neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action. “The essence of the ICRC’s role as a guardian of the Geneva Convention is to talk to all parties to armed conflicts. This does not confer any legitimacy on any party. It means we do our utmost to ensure a minimum of humanity in war.”
Maurer noted that as a result of ICRC’s engagement in Nigeria, since January 2019 over 258,000 people from areas affected by armed violence got access to health care and over 640,000 received food or agricultural support. During the same period, over 22,000 detainees were visited.
On the recent killing of two officials in the North-east, he said: “We are shaken by the killing of our staff, but not discouraged. Humanitarian assistance should continue, and we applaud the hospitality of Nigeria.”
The ICRC President said relationship will be further strengthened with Nigeria, submitting that “the more we see activity from Nigerian authorities, the easier it is for us to add here and there.”
Early the ICRC stated that international humanitarian law more relevant than ever in Nigeria today.
According to the ICRC, the meeting with President Buhari followed a two-day visit of Mr Peter Maurer to Maiduguri and Monguno.
The humanitarian agency stated: ”The suffering of hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced several times due to the armed conflict is alarming.”
According to ICRC, as August 2019 marked the 70th Anniversary of the universally ratified Geneva Conventions, the meeting highlighted how international humanitarian law (IHL) is more relevant than ever in Nigeria today.
Maurer highlighted the commitment of the ICRC to continue alleviating the suffering of the people affected by the armed conflict in the North-East, by delivering humanitarian relief and fostering an environment for an increasing respect of international humanitarian law.
At the heart of IHL lies the protection of civilians, of detainees, of the wounded and sick and other not participating in hostilities. In Nigeria, the authorities have taken several steps – ICRC has provided support to some, such as the strengthening of IHL training for the military – to improve respect for IHL. These efforts and other efforts need to be sustained and amplified. Full respect for the law requires effective mechanisms at the domestic level to ensure incidents are investigated and perpetrators held accountable.
2023 Polls: Visa Ban Watchlist Swells Up, Says UK
By Idris Umar & Johnson Eyiangho, Abua
The United Kingdom (UK), revealed that the number of Nigerians on its visa bans Watchlist has continued to multiply, even as it said the names will be kept secret.
Disclosing this in an interview with Nigeria Info FM yesterday, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, reiterated that the UK government will issue visa bans to people undermining democracy.
According to him, there are about 10 persons already on the watchlist.
“We have a list, we are working through our list but we don’t publish those names.I know people say we should, but we have laws, and the law prevents us from doing that.
“At the moment the list is between 5 and 10 and it is growing,” he added.
The envoy also faulted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode over controversial comments made during the electoral season.
Last month, Fani-Kayode was invited for questioning by the Department of State Services (DSS), for claiming that the presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, had a meeting with army generals before the elections.
“Yes, let’s be specific, there were some people, like Femi Fani-Kayode, what is he saying and why is he saying it? I don’t understand.
“It is wrong from my perspective that he will speak on behalf of a party and that party does not distance itself from him and say stop doing that. It is wrong to say that,” Llewellyn-Jones said.
Enugu Governor-elect, Mbah Promises to Reward Residents with Projects, Policies
From Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu
The Enugu State Governor-elect, Dr. Peter Mbah has promised to reward the people of the state with projects and policies that they will be proud of.
Mbah, who made the pledge during his acceptance speech after he was announced winner of the March 18 Governorship election in the state, also pledged to also dualise the Abakpa, Ugwuogo Nike-Nsukka road.
He also said that his administration would build a monorail from Enugu to Nsukka, Udi, Awgu and construct a ring road to connect all the 17 Local Government Areas of Enugu State.
According him, his administration would embark on development of infrastructure, health, tourism, education and development of Enugu state in general, to fast-track growth.
He emphasized that he will build a world class theme pack in Enugu, establish special economic zone in all Local Government Areas, as well as agro allied processing zones and industrial parks in all the Senatorial zones.
He said that he will unleash the tech talent in young people, grow and nurture their interest in business and vocational skills.
He assured the people of the state that his administration will not be for a section of the state but will be an inclusive government that is designed to provide an inclusive economic development to the state.
“Ours will not be a government of any section of Enugu State. It is your government, Ndi Enugu. Under our administration, there can never be division between Nsukka and Nkanu or any other section of the state. We are all brothers and sisters. Those who attempted to create a wedge between us failed woefully.
“We were massively voted by every section of the state. Those who wanted to smack our heads together had an ulterior motive and it was to create perpetual fussing and fighting between us. We resisted their machination and today, we are coming together stronger. Our resolve thereafter is to pursue the spirit of divisiveness from our state”.
Benue PDP to Challenge Guber, Assembly Polls Defeat at Tribunal
From David Torough, Makurdi
The Benue chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday said it will challenge its defeat on both the governorship and state assembly elections at the tribunal.
The Acting state Chairman, Mr Isaac Mffo, made this known during a press conference on Thursday in Makurdi.
“It is the decision of the Benue Chapter of the PDP that the outcome of the March 18 elections be challenged at the state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi.
“It is our belief that we owe democracy in our country, Nigeria, a duty to help deepen it by taking such an action to reverse the ‘hijacking’ of the popular mandate of the people as done by the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the last elections.
“It is our faith that the mandate of the Benue electorate will be restored to our great party as was rightfully given by the people on March 18,” Mffo said.
He said that the party owes a load of gratitude to their teeming members and supporters across the state who exhibited uncommon courage to go out and vote in the elections despite alleged heavy militarisation of the polls and the use of thugs, aided by security agents sent to the state by the Federal Authorities.
He commended the leader of the party in the state, Gov. Samuel Ortom; the governorship candidate, Mr Titus Uba, and his running mate, Mr John Ngbede, Senators Gabriel Suswam, Patrick Abba Moro and Orker Jev; National Assembly and State Assembly caucus members of the party, among many others.
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