By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – The United Kingdom (UK) has announced a new £200 million support package of emergency relief from 2018 – 2022 for the North East, as part of the UK’s increasing support to saving lives and rebuilding northeast Nigeria.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel, made she visited Maiduguri on Wednesday along with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
The UK is one of the biggest donors supporting UNICEF’s humanitarian response in northeast Nigeria, as well as its work in other parts of the country.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID), in a statement on Thursday, said the increased support would extend DFID’s humanitarian programme in Nigeria over five years (2017-2022) to deliver lifesaving food for more than 1.5 million people; treatment for up to 120,000 children at risk of dying from malnutrition-related causes; ongoing support to help keep 100,000 girls and boys in education, providing a brighter future for the next generation; and humanitarian access to transport aid workers delivering assistance to the hardest to reach areas, for example using helicopters where roads are blocked or dangerous to use.Parts of northeast Nigeria including the outskirts of Maiduguri – a city that the Secretaries of State visited – have been decimated by attacks from Boko Haram. The militant group have killed over 20,000 people, displaced 1.7 million and left 8.5 million in desperate need of urgent support. Ongoing attacks continue to destroy communities, with recent reports of children being forced to carry suicide bombs.”
According to Ms Patel, “It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over five million people have been left hungry and many homeless. Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.
“Global Britain is a country that stands tall in the world and the UK will not turn its back on people living in danger and desperation.
Also speaking the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, “Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale, with profound knock on effects far from Nigeria’s borders, and I am proud of Britain’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian people in tackling terror.
“In Maiduguri I met casualties of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for myself the displacement of people that brutality and poverty have created.”
The new £200 million support package of emergency relief from 2018 – 2022announced today by DFID also includes the restoration of key infrastructure and services in northeast Nigeria, the press release stated, building on DFID’s existing £100 million of humanitarian support for 2017. The support “Includes giving children living in conflict zones an education, improving access to health care, helping smallholder famers to restore their livelihoods and produce food to generate higher incomes, and introducing innovative solar energy to power schools and health centres,” said the press release, adding, “The programme will be delivered through capable and cost effective partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, United Nations Humanitarian Air Service; INGOs and private sector partners.”