The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Maihaja, has called for collaboration with Nigerians in providing safety to aid workers exposed to risk in the course of humanitarian services.
Maihaja made the call after a road walk to commemorate the 2019 World Humanitarian Day on Saturday in Abuja.
The DG, who was represented by Mr Onimode Bandele, Director Relief and Rehabilitation, NEMA, said humanitarian workers globally were exposed to lots of risks.
According to him, the theme of the 2019 world Humanitarian day, which is #Women Humanitarians, is intended to highlight the safety of women humanitarian workers.
“The theme is appropriate and relevant considering the risk, challenges and alarming experiences of female humanitarian workers.
“Sometimes, they are faced with extreme threats that affect their survival, especially in disaster situations such as violent conflicts,” he said.
Mr Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said that women humanitarian brought a unique perspective to humanitarian work through their understanding of the specific needs and priority of girls and women.
Represented by Mr Peter Ekayu, Deputy Head, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), kallon said in the past year, tragic events had befallen women humanitarians working in Nigeria.
” 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.
“Also, 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 extend our global humanitarian access in parts of the world by their ability to reach women and girls, who may otherwise be out-of-reach and bring them the information, support and services they need,” he said.
He disclosed that a total of 37 aid workers lost their lives in service of humanity since the beginning of the conflict in the Northeast.
According to NEMA, about 35,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict since 2009, adding that the humanitarian crisis hitting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states is far from over.
He called for immediate release and return to the safety of other humanitarian workers still being held captive by armed groups.
The Programme Officer, ECOWAS Emergency Response Team of the Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Mr Alozie Amechie, said that ECOWAS Commission completely aligned itself and in support of the 2019 World humanitarian day activities.
“Particularly this year we are talking about women humanitarians, without doubt, we know that women have contributed a lot in the humanitarian circle and they will continue to contribute.
“It is our pleasure that this year is being marked out particularly to honour women humanitarians.
“We want to use this opportunity to assure the Nigerian Government and our partners that we are going to work more to see that those who have been displaced, particularly women and children, that we put some food on their table
“We will also provide succour to make sure they do not drown in the conflict and the crisis that hit our nation,” he said.
He called on ECOWAS member states to continue to remember the work that humanitarians do every time.
World Humanitarian Day is celebrated every August 19.