By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-MINISTER of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has reiterated the federal government’s commitment towards the protection of humanitarian aid workers in the country.
Speaking Wednesday at a virtual joint press briefing on the World Humanitarian Day and the first anniversary of the Ministry, Farouq said the Commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day (WHD) was held on the 19th of August, annually, was focused on increasing public awareness about humanitarian services worldwide.
“In Nigeria, this day provides an opportunity for sober reflection on the humanitarian challenges in the country and also to acknowledge and celebrate those who put themselves at risk or may have lost their lives in services to humanity,” she said
According to the minister, “The uniqueness of this year’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is reflected in the global theme “#RealLifeHeroes”, and in Nigeria, it coincides with the activities marking the first anniversary of the creation of the ministry.”
“As we mark this day and the Ministry’s first anniversary let us remember the Real-life heroes, that we have lost in the service to humanity. Our prayer is with their families and loved ones.
“I assure the Humanitarian community that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, will continue to do everything possible to see that the protection of humanitarian aids workers is of paramount priority, therefore we will do everything possible to protect their lives and rights as enshrined in the humanitarian laws,” she further said.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for the creation of the ministry, Mrs. Farouq said “this has placed Nigeria in an advantageous position to tackle the challenges and vulnerabilities that emerged due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
She added that the pandemic created humanitarian needs and tested the capacity of Nigeria and indeed, the entire world, to respond to disasters.
The minister also stated that the ministry will officially be a year old on Thursday 21st August 2020, adding that the past months have been eventful, interesting, and challenging.
“Despite the often demanding situations, the Ministry and its agencies have provided humanitarian interventions and proactively developed structures to prevent and mitigate disaster while building socio-economic resilience through the evolution of inclusive social safety net programmes.
“A special commendation goes to our partners in the humanitarian sector, UNOCHA, World Bank, World Food Programme, UNICEF, DFID, USAID, ECOWAS, and the EU, as well as my colleagues in the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, all health sectors and many other local and international partners who continue to provide humanitarian assistance at great personal cost,” Farouq said.
Also speaking at the event, the Representative of the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and Head of UNOCHA, Trond Jensen, congratulated the minister on the ministry’s one year anniversary, adding that the establishment of the ministry was very bold, strategic and forward-looking.
He explained that” the functions of the ministry bring together all strands of humanitarian and social activities, and this is a great opportunity for the humanitarian workspace.”
He also expressed his gratitude to the Minister and the staff of the Ministry for the good working relationship and support which the humanitarian community enjoys.
He disclosed that due to the disregard of humanitarian laws about 725 aid workers have been killed globally which many of these aid workers are from Nigeria.
He stated that renewed ethics must be made to protect civilians as well as aid workers who have chosen to put the wellbeing of others ahead of their own despite the life-threatening challenges they encounter at the cause of their service to humanity.