Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja and Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Outrage and condemnation have greeted the killing of five aid workers by insurgents in Borno State.
The United Nation (UN) the European Union (UE), the United States of America and other organisations flayed killing by members of the Boko Haram.
The five aid workers were staff of Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Action Against Hunger and Reach International and International Rescue Committee (IRC).
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, said the victims were committed humanitarians who devoted their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence.
“This is tragically not the first killing of kidnapped aid workers. We have repeatedly called for such devastating fate and blatant violation of international humanitarian law to never happen again.
“And yet, it does. I implore all armed parties to step up their responsibilities and stop targeting aid workers and civilians,” he said.
Kallon said all aid workers and the assistance they provide to the most vulnerable populations made the difference between life and death for entire communities.
“At a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels, it is unacceptable that those who are trying to help are being attacked and killed,” he said.
The European Union (EU) said the humanitarian community was going through extremely difficult time in Nigeria.
In a condolence message, yesterday, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, said the EU joined the humanitarian community in strongly condemning the recent killing of the aid workers that were abducted in June along the Monguno-Maiduguri road in the Northeastern state.
“The EU continues to appeal for the adherence to international humanitarian law and the safeguard of human rights – conflict is not an excuse to breach these rules and target humanitarian workers and civilians.
“It is an extremely difficult time for the humanitarian community in Nigeria. Informal vehicle checkpoints and ambushes along the main roads in Borno State have resulted in hundreds of civilians being abducted, wounded or killed since the beginning of the year. Insecurity in conflict-affected Northeast Nigeria is severely impacting the civilian population and hindering the capacity to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need of urgent support,” Lenarcic said.
Lenarcic further said humanitarian workers had only one mission which was that of saving lives.
“Saving the lives of others should not cost lives,” Lenarcic said.
Also, the United States embassy in Nigeria flayed the execution of the aid workers.
“We are deeply saddened by the execution of five humanitarian workers by terrorists in North-east Nigeria. This comes against a backdrop of deteriorating conditions for millions of Nigerians.
“These brave individuals dedicated their lives to easing human suffering. We hope that their families and colleagues can take comfort in their selfless sacrifices on behalf of others. We will remember their dedication to others.”
Other international humanitarian organisations including Medicine Sans Frontiers known as Doctors Without Borders have also condemned the killing.
Meanwhile, Governor Babagana Zulum, has expressed shock and sadness over the killing in Borno of five aid workers by Boko Haram insurgents.
Zulum, in a statement by his media aide, Malam Isa Gusau, described the aid workers as “heroes who were serving humanity.”
The governor, Gusau said, was informed of the execution on Wednesday evening, while visiting the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Headquarters in Abuja to discuss introduction of civil-defence volunteer programme and the deployment of more agro rangers to secure farmers in Borno.