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Military obstruction, insecurity, access confront aid workers in Nigeria — CORE

A REPORT by the Coverage Operational Risk and Effectiveness (CORE) says military obstruction, insecurity, and access to conflict-affected areas confront the activities of aid workers in Northeast Nigeria.

The report titled: “Humanitarian Access SCORE Report: Northeast Nigeria” did a Survey on the Coverage, Operational Reach, and Effectiveness (SCORE) of humanitarian aid in northeast Nigeria.

The report noted that an estimated 1.2 million people were in need of aid outside Nigeria military zones, and, by all accounts, unreached by and unable to access humanitarian assistance.

Beyond that, it highlighted states like Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe posing a huge threat to aid workers even with their high need for humanitarian aid.

In Borno especially, the state most affected by conflict, the report noted that the two most commonly reported obstacles for people to access aid were that it was ‘unsafe to reach it’ and that ‘local authorities took it’.

In Adamawa and Yobe, there were reported cases of diversion of aid by the authorities higher than cases of insecurity, and significant numbers of people reporting the aids available were ‘too far away’.

In the other three states, less affected by the conflict, the largest numbers of respondents reported ‘no obstacles’.

However, less conflict-affected states such as Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba reported no obstacles, while in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, poor roads, insecurity for aid workers and restrictions by the national military were more frequently reported.

Meanwhile, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon on Thursday decried the increase in the number of aid workers killed in 2019. He blamed it on the high rise of the insurgency in certain areas across the country.

He condemned the successions of attacks on aid workers saying, “This is twice more than in 2018, which we thought was amongst the most dangerous years for humanitarian actors in Nigeria”.

“I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis.

“The humanitarian community is troubled by the increased trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in the states of Borno and Yobe.”

“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heightened risks of being killed or abducted,” he said.

Kallon urged the federal government to protect its citizens and, aid workers from”grave violations” of international laws, especially women and children who constitute the most vulnerable of insurgent attacks.

“Their security is paramount, and I call on all parties to assure the safety of aid workers and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said.

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