The Head of Office, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN OCHA, Mr. Peter Ekayu has said that a total of 37 aid workers have lost their lives in service of humanity since the beginning of the conflict in northeast Nigeria.
Peter Ekayu stated this in a statement made available to newsmen as aid workers mark humanitarian day.
Mr. Perter also said that, over the years, too many innocent children, women and men had died in the violence, adding that, data showed that about 35,000 people had lost their lives in the conflict since 2009.
“These are 35,000 deaths too many. As we mark World Humanitarian Day to honour aid workers around the world and in Nigeria, who often risk their own lives to help save and improve that of others, I salute the courage and relentless commitment of not only colleagues and partners, but also affected people and families have shown over the years,” Peter said.
“in the past year, tragic events befell women humanitarians working in Nigeria. We are here to salute their commitment and recognize the sacrifices they and their families are making every day.
“Our efforts are not vain. Together, we are making a difference in the life of millions.These everyday heroes are working tirelessly to provide much-needed vital assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
“UN staff, INGO and local NGO personnel, State emergency professionals, doctors, nurses, host community members, or simply fathers, mothers, neighbours… thousands of people are guided by their dedication to humanity. They are driven by the most noble cause of helping others.
“Today, we are paying special tribute to the women among them. Women are active in every aspect of humanitarian action: from negotiating access to people in need, to addressing deadly diseases such as measles and cholera. From reuniting separated children to ensuring people uprooted by natural disasters and conflict have shelter, access to clean water, healthcare, food and education.
“Women humanitarians bring a unique perspective to this work through their understanding of the specific needs and priority of girls and women.
“And women humanitarians extend our global humanitarian access in parts of the world by their ability to reach women and girls who might otherwise be out-of-reach and bring them the information, support and services they need.
“Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa and Hauwa Mohammed Liman. They were midwives with ICRC and were executed after being held in captivity by non-state armed groups for more than six months. Both aid workers were abducted from Rann town, Borno State in March 2018 along with a nurse from UNICEF who is still held in captivity.
“Faye Mooney. She was a British communications and learning specialist with the non-governmental organization Mercy Corps. She lost her life in an attack by gunmen in Kaduna State earlier this year.
“We are here together to honour them and their grieving families, relatives and children surviving them. As I stand before you today, my thoughts also go to the families of our colleagues who are still being held captive by armed groups.
“The UN and its humanitarian partners call for their immediate release and return to safety.
“My heart also goes out to the families of the thousands of civilians who have been similarly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown.
“Today, we are here together to remind the world that the humanitarian crisis hitting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states is far from over.
“The less attention we pay to the crisis in the north-east, the more risks face our colleagues who are working in extremely volatile areas struck by violence and devastation.
“As respect for the laws of war weakens, aid workers are increasingly vulnerable, though they are more needed than ever before.” He added.