The Nigerian Army on Wednesday sought urgent humaniterian support for displaced women and children in four Borno local government areas liberated from boko haram.
Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, made the appeal when Mr Geoffrey Ijumba, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Chief Field Officer visited the command in Maiduguri.
Nicholas said Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in four Borno liberated councils like Ngoshe, Marte, Guzamala and Abadam were in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
He urged UNICEF to assist the liberated councils, listing the immediate needs of the areas to include clean water, education and shelter, some means of livelihood.
He said “as the civic authorities start to bounce back and IDPs moving back to their communities, they will need some means of livelihood to enable them to engage in meaningful activities to enable them to stand on their own.
“We discovered that the schools in these areas were in a bad shape, so we urged UNICEF to step in to put those schools in shape to enable pupils in the areas to resume school.”
The theatre commander added that “the army is committed to working with UNICEF to improve the lives of those affected by the insurgency. We must all keep our doors open and collaborate better.”
He also urged humanitarian agencies to fashion out a successful line of operations and work toward achieving success in counter insurgency operation.
“We must work toward filling the gaps and strengthen our collaboration. The Nigerian army is a responsible institution and one of our core mandate is restoration of unity.”
On human rights violation, Rogers said the army was working with Human Rights Commission of Nigeria to enhance capacity of its fighting troops on rules of engagement.
“We are partnering with the National Human Right Commission (NHRC), we also have human rights advisory and desk officers in all our formations. We also follow our code of conduct which always guide us on rules of engagement,” he said.
Ijumba commended the military for the cooperation and support to UNICEF in the last three years.
He said “we appreciate the fact that before we started the humanitarian operations, the military were the first to start operations aimed at reducing the plight of displaced persons.”
He added that the military had provided shelter, healthcare services and fed thousands of IDPs.
He noted that “it may not be their specific line of operations, but the military was actually there for the vulnerable people in the North East.”
The UNICEF officer explained that the organisation was committed to assisting displaced persons through various programmes.
According to him, UNICEF staff have already been deployed to the liberated areas mentioned
to carter for the welfare of IDPs in need.