NIGERIANS are grateful that the G7 group of nations, an inter-governmental organisation made up of the world’s largest developed economies – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada – has appropriated $382 million (N180 billion) to combat the worsening food crisis and famine in Boko Haram-ravaged North-East Nigeria.
The project, tagged ‘G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact’, is aimed at leading international efforts through the UN High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine to stem the growth of humanitarian needs and ensure that people in North-East of Nigeria have access to food, clean water and sanitation.
The project is also aimed at ensuring that children in that part of Nigeria have access to lifesaving malnutrition treatment and vaccinations as well as protect civilians, especially women and girls, from violence.
According to the statistics released, 1.9 million people have been displaced in the North-East as a result of the on-going conflict, while about 300,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. Within that zone, about 8.7 million people need assistance.
While we commend the G7 for this intervention, we call on them to further assist by taking measures that will tackle the root cause of this famine and prevent the spread of the same problem to the South as it is already happening.
The G7 countries must change their attitude of waiting for the damage to be done in Africa and Third World countries and then start indiscriminately throwing money at the problems.
The non-interference stance of the world powers should be reviewed in the light of globalisation and interconnectivity of people. In this era, what happens in any part of the world affects the others. The G7 should not wait until the Jihadists operating under different guises achieve their evil objectives. It will impact not only Africa but the whole world.
The G7 countries need to do more than supply food and medicines to the hungry and sick at the IDP camps in Nigeria, when bandits, terrorists and other armed criminals are spreading towards the Southern part of the country almost unchecked by the Federal Government and its security agencies. The time to act against this is now before it becomes too late.
The G7 countries have a moral obligation to prevent Nigeria from becoming another Rwanda where the United Nations had ignored the intelligence report of General Romeo Dallaire, the Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force, which revealed that the Hutu militia, Interahamwe, supported by the Rwandan government, were stockpiling arms for a genocide against the Tutsi.
The world must act decisively to help stamp out Boko Haram, ISWAP, bandits and armed herdsmen. Their objectives are the same, though they are operating with different names. The G7 should not wait until IDP camps start springing up in Southern Nigeria before they act.