#WHD: Humanitarian Workers Should’nt Lose Their Lives While Saving Others ~ Minister

By Abdulkareem Haruna

Ideally, no humanitarian worker should lose his or her life while trying to save or ameliorate another human being’s life. But the sad reality is humanitarian workers, just like the local population do die during conflicts.

Sadiya Umar-Farouq

The 2022 edition of World Humanitarian Day (WHD) acknowledges the tremendous effort being made by humanitarian workers and government towards alleviating the world’s most challenging situations and human sufferings.

It is a common knowledge that the WHD is used “to advocate for peace and stability at home and abroad.”

The was the focal message of minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, when she hosted the 2022 edition of the #WHD an event that saw a large turned turn out of core humanitarian aid workers in Maiduguri, Borno state coming to be appreciated by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

Her words;

“Your Excellency Mr President, this year’s theme is “IT TAKES A VILLAGE”.  It truly takes a village to provide emergency relief, protection and assistance, to build peace and resilience of affected communities, to promote sustainable development and to lift people out of poverty, especially in complex and protracted humanitarian situation. Everyone gathered here today represents that community. 

“Your Excellency Mr President, permit me to acknowledge the presence of members of the humanitarian community here with us today, we have field officers, drivers, data analysts, logistics officers, doctors, security personnel, protection officers, technical assistants, policy advisors, and many others who provide an essential service in the humanitarian space.

Your Excellency, their commitment, determination and bravery are truly commendable given the threats they face daily in the course of service to humanity. 

Ideally, no humanitarian worker should lose his or her life while trying to save or ameliorate another human being’s life. But the sad reality is humanitarian workers, just like the local population do die during conflicts.

President Buhari flipping through the northeast plan document.

Your Excellency, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, since 2016, 35 aid workers have died, 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped. This year 2022, so far six aid workers have been kidnapped.

”We respect the memory of those who died while performing service.

I would like to use this opportunity to recognize all the humanitarian workers who have been killed, injured or kidnapped in the line of duty. May the souls of the departed Rest in Peace, and by the Grace of God the insurgency in the North-East has come to an end.

There have been tremendous efforts and huge achievements as a result of the efforts of the Federal Government, State governments, the United Nations, international donors, NGOs and other partners, as witnessed by the massive surrender by insurgents and thousands of returnees.

The North-East continues to face an insurgency that has led to mass displacement and food insecurity. This is exacerbated by climate change related factors such as desertification and drying up of the Lake Chad basin. While we have scaled up efforts towards facilitating safe, orderly and dignified returns in areas that have been stabilized and rehabilitated, we must continue to facilitate peace building, ensure civil-military coordination and build back better systems and infrastructure that can sustain displaced and host communities. 

In fact, one of the reasons we have chosen the North East, in particular Borno State as the venue for this year’s event, is to highlight the tremendous improvement in the humanitarian situation in this region, to provide a human face of the plight of IDPs and to inspire the change needed. 

Minister Farouq, President Buhari, Governor Zulum, Sen Shettima at the WHD event.

Your Excellency Mr President, the root causes of humanitarian crises in the North-West are as a result of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling that has affected economic activities. The Southern parts of the country and riverine communities are also being impacted by floods. 

Throughout the country, people face challenges due to competing and limited resources as a result of mass rural to urban migration and farmer-herder clashes. The world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, while other endemics like Lassa fever, cholera, and more recently money pox pose risks to all. 

The Ukraine-Russia conflict is impacting global food security. Nevertheless, Your Excellency, we have taken proactive measures  to mitigate. I have instructed the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and the  North East Development Commission (NEDC) to stockpile food and non-food items in order to mitigate food insecurity.  

The first tranche of these food and non-food items from  NEDC and NEMA  will be handed over today to the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North East which Mr. President established under the chairmanship of Mr. Vice President with His Excellency the Governor of Borno as Vice Chair. 

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests, we must acknowledge the foresight of this Government under the able leadership of His Excellency, Mr. President in  establishing the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on 21st August 2019.  The Ministry will serve as a legacy and testament  to the commitment of His Excellency’s administration towards reducing . 

The Ministry has been established to coordinate, promote and strengthen social systems that provide support for humanitarian needs in Nigeria by integrating best practices, mechanisms and solutions through effective utilization of data, research and planning. We have been doing this by developing humanitarian policies and providing effective coordination of National & International Humanitarian interventions; ensuring strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response; and managing the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion and protection programmes in the country.

Your Excellency, I am happy to update you that since the 2021 World Humanitarian- Day, the Ministry and its agencies, with the tremendous support received from Your Excellency, Mr. President and support of partners like the United Nations in Nigeria, has achieved numerous milestones. just to mention a few

Your Excellency, Mr. President, permit to assure you that the Ministry is fully committed to enhancing partnerships and collaboration through new or existing coordination mechanisms like the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee and its Technical Working Groups. We also have several plans and policies that are in the process of being formulated such as the Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Policy and Cash and  Voucher Policy, a Policy on Orphans and a Policy on Humanitarian Mine Action. We honor upcoming invitations including the Mid Term Review of the Sendai Framework.  

Throughout today we will recognize and honor exemplary staff and humanitarian workers as well as connect with beneficiaries, strengthen existing partnerships and build new ones. 

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