UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Development Secretary Priti Patel have announced a new package of humanitarian support for the devastated north east part of Nigeria, worth £200million.
They said during a visit to Maiduguri on Wednesday, that it is part of efforts of their country to saving lives and rebuild northeast Nigeria, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram terrorist sect.
The UK is one of the biggest donors supporting UNICEF’s humanitarian response in northeast Nigeria, as well as its work in other parts of the country.
The U.K announcement is coming a few days after scores of humanitarian workers of the International Medical Corp fled the Gubio IDP camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, after they were attacked by internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Reports say the humanitarian workers of the non-governmental organization were embarking on a monthly distribution of relief items on Monday when they were attacked with many of them sustaining injuries and the five Lexus Jeeps which they came in were damaged.
According to a press release issued by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), International Development Secretary Patel announced a new package of humanitarian support during the visit.
“Parts of northeast Nigeria including the outskirts of Maiduguri – a city that the Secretaries of State visited – have been decimated by attacks from Boko Haram. The militant group have killed over 20,000 people, displaced 1.7 million and left 8.5 million in desperate need of urgent support,” the press release said.
“Ongoing attacks continue to destroy communities, with recent reports of children being forced to carry suicide bombs.”
The press release said that the UK’s increased support would extend DFID’s humanitarian programme in Nigeria over five years (2017-2022) to deliver:
• food for more than 1.5 million people;
• treatment for up to 120,000 children at risk of dying from malnutrition-related causes;
• ongoing support to help keep 100,000 girls and boys in education, providing a brighter future for the next generation; and
• humanitarian access to transport aid workers delivering assistance to the hardest to reach areas, for example using helicopters where roads are blocked or dangerous to use.
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel was also quoted to have said, “It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over five million people have been left hungry and many homeless. Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.
“Global Britain is a country that stands tall in the world and the UK will not turn its back on people living in danger and desperation”.
On his part, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was also quoted as saying, “Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale, with profound knock on effects far from Nigeria’s borders, and I am proud of Britain’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian people in tackling terror.
“In Maiduguri I met casualties of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for myself the displacement of people that brutality and poverty have created.”
The new £200 million support package of emergency relief from 2018 – 2022 announced on Wednesday by DFID also includes the restoration of key infrastructure and services in northeast Nigeria, the press release stated, building on DFID’s existing £100 million of humanitarian support for 2017.
The support “Includes giving children living in conflict zones an education, improving access to health care, helping smallholder farmers to restore their livelihoods and produce food to generate higher incomes, and introducing innovative solar energy to power schools and health centres,” said the press release.
It also added, that “The programme will be delivered through capable and cost effective partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, United Nations Humanitarian Air Service; INGOs and private sector partners.”
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