10 ways to prevent full-blown humanitarian crisis in Borno

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The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s insurgency-infested north east region has in the past few weeks, being a major topic across the world.

International groups and media have been beaming their searchlight on the region, especially in Borno state which is the worst hit; as there are fears that poverty, diseases and hunger are threatening the existence of the people.

Images like this from Borno state has been shared on news mediums across the world

Images like this from Borno state has been shared on news mediums across the world

An international independent organisation working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world – The International Crisis Group has joined in the call for global call for government and the civil society to wade into the crisis before it becomes a major disaster.

READ ALSO: Dangote moves to rebuild health facilities destroyed by Boko Haram

In a piece published on its website on Thursday, August 4, the group decried the lack of effective assistance, both national and international, to those caught up in the conflict.

In the piece, the group outlined 10 major tasks that should be carried out by all stakeholders to prevent a full blown humanitarian crisis in Borno state and beyond.

Read below:

1. To prevent the current humanitarian emergency from claiming more lives, prolonging the conflict and fuelling longer term insecurity in the region, the government must match its military campaign against Boko Haram with strong commitment to addressing the immediate humanitarian needs and longer-term development and reconstruction assistance to rebuild the north east.

2. The government must grant access to, and facilitating, independent local and international reporting and assessments in the area. This is necessary not only for proper resource mobilisation, but even more importantly as a way to provide independent analysis of outstanding emergency relief requirements.

3. President Muhammadu Buhari should pay special attention to the governance of aid. Reports of the embezzlement and diversion of food and other aid need to be properly investigated and officials found to have stolen or mismanaged aid must be sanctioned.

4. The government and international partners should have fewer qualms about bringing assistance closer to the war zones. It is possible that some of it could leak to Boko Haram members, but this marginal price should be balanced with the immense relief it would provide, the lives it would save and the goodwill it would generate for the government.

5. Improved assistance would be more efficient in attracting civilians to government areas than military mop-up operations. Where Boko Haram can no longer use the “rhetoric of plenty”, as it once did, offering feasts of meat and cold drinks to potential recruits, authorities now have that card to play.

6. The reluctance to allow IDPs encamped in secondary towns like Bama to move around should be revised. The arguably marginal benefit in security which the ban on movement provides will be far outweighed by the humanitarian gains and goodwill generated by easing up this restriction. As an immediate measure, all those most in need should be allowed to temporarily move to Maiduguri or other cities where appropriate treatment is available.

7. ‪While vigilante groups have done much to defend their communities, Borno state authorities should stop using vigilante groups to vet IDPs even though they have done much to defend their communities. The federal government should begin to put in place a demobilisation process lest longer-term problems result, including increased risks of communal violence based on revenge between vigilante group members and displaced persons.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

8. International partners must drastically increase their humanitarian response, including by releasing all funds pledged to the UN and other humanitarian agencies for the emergency. They must lend greater support to the government, preferably in a high-level forum that includes the military, UN agencies, international NGOs, as well as local civil society and NGOs. This forum should provide a platform for all actors to share knowledge, including their assessments of the gravity of the humanitarian situation and areas of greatest needs as well as clarify guiding principles and improve working relations.

9. The Buhari administration for its part needs to be far more proactive. A clarification of its assistance framework is pressing, and senior officials need to make clear that they regard the unfolding humanitarian crisis as a first-order priority. The government should accelerate the implementation of its response, for instance in disbursing the 12 billion naira (about $41 million) which it announced, in May 2016, would be used to rebuild the north east and also in implementing the programs of the Victims Support Fund. It is also essential that accountability mechanisms are strengthened.

10. Periodic visits by senior leaders, including President Buhari himself, to the camps and major communities hosting IDPs are essential to begin breaking down the suspicion faced by the newly displaced, and to affirm to them, as well as to state and government officials, that as Nigerian citizens and victims of the insurgency, they should not be left without food or medical assistance.

The post 10 ways to prevent full-blown humanitarian crisis in Borno appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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