- As UN pulls out humanitarian workers
Henry Okonkwo and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Prominent Nigerian leaders have continued to vent their condemnations on the recent terror attack by Boko Haram that led to deaths and kidnap of some UN humanitarian workers in Rann community, Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, in a statement released yesterday in Abuja, described the attack as another low in the inhuman, repugnant, callous and barbaric acts of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“It is saddening that people, who have been sacrificing to save lives and offer succour to our people in the North-east are now targets of blood thirsty terrorists. We condemn this in the strongest terms as it is against all rules of engagement in conflict zones all over the world.
“We appeal to all humanitarian agencies not to be deterred by this new dimension of violence by the insurgents,” Dogara said. Dogara urged security agencies to also provide adequate protection for humanitarian workers in the region.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also strongly condemned last Thursday’s killings by the insurgents.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the Federal Government should be held directly responsible for their death. The opposition party blamed the government for issuing “false security assurances”, in which it claimed to have defeated Boko Haram insurgents in the country.
According to the party, there is need for a “for full-scale investigation, by independent bodies, into circumstances surrounding the alleged compromising of security in flashpoints as well as alleged release of some arrested insurgents by agents of the Federal Government, a development now generally believed to have contributed to the upscale of violent attacks in the North-east.”
“We urge the international community to compel the Buhari Presidency to come out with the truth on the alleged compromising of security in flashpoints as was reported in the sudden withdrawal of troops from Dapchi, Yobe State, just before the abduction of our 110 daughters.
“Instead, our dear President, who has not visited Benue, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and other areas that have been under attack, is busy making merry in a wedding ceremony in Kano, while the world mourn the murder of international aids workers providing succour to internally displaced persons in our country. ’’
Also former governor of Kaduna State and ex-chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, decried the Rann attack describing it as utterly cowardly. The lawmaker in a statement signed by his spokesman, Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, consoled the government and people of Borno State and the entire country as well as the United Nations, Red Cross and International Organisation for Migration Families over the Boko Haram attack.
However, against the backdrop of the March 1, terror attack that saw the death of three humanitarian personals and the kidnap of a female nurse, the United Nations (UN) has moved their aid workers out of the community. A statement released last Friday by, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres, confirmed the withdrawal of aid workers from the community. She said: “At the time of the attack, over 40 humanitarian workers were in Rann. All humanitarian personnel have been evacuated from Rann, and all humanitarian deliveries in the area have been temporarily suspended.
“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the affected aid workers, their families and to the Government and people of Nigeria. He wishes those injured a swift recovery. Recall that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law. Those responsible for these and other atrocities in Nigeria must be apprehended and prosecuted.”
Also, the Doctors Without Borders, otherwise known as Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), has also followed suit in suspending humanitarian activities in the Borno community. According to the MSF’s Field Communication officer in Abuja, Maro Verli, the humanitarian organisation had to suspend all operations in the Borno village.
“Following the violent attack in Rann, Borno State, on Thursday March, 1 Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) decided to suspend its medical activities in the town.
“MSF team has been providing medical care to the 40,000 people in Rann since January 2017. Mobile teams delivered assistance on a regular basis, and a permanent medical team has been based in Rann since September 2017,” Verli said.