Gift Joseph Okpakorese
Some humanitarian facilities in Damasak, Borno state have been destroyed after being attacked and raided by insurgents.
Narrating the ugly experience, a spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) explained that the insurgents ravaged a considerable amount of relief materials, as well as properties belonging to the agency, and depots, after which they set them on fire.
According to him, this was the second time such an attack of this magnitude was being carried out on facilities belonging to those involved in humanitarian services within the past two months in the north-east, and this was the fourth attack on Damasak town and its surrounding areas this year.
Eric Batonon, NRC country director in Nigeria, also speaking on the unpleasant trend and the continued negativity and impunity with which these actions are being perpetrated by these hoodlums, said that it calls for urgency and a collective effort on the part of the federal government and the citizens.
The NRC director recounting the whole
the episode confirmed the attack and remarked that five workers escaped unhurt. He further lamented the fact that over the years, these terrorist organizations have focused precisely on facilities owned by the government and most especially, that of humanitarian workers. This for him, was unacceptable especially as these facilities and workforce exist to offer services to humanity and help to forestall peace and relief. He, therefore, mentioned that if this trend is not stopped on time it would lead to a situation that may negatively impact relief programs and initiatives in the northern region of the country.
The NRC director also drew attention to the fact that these assaults were standing as an impediment to the efforts of these aid workers and also, dwindling humanitarian contributions in the region. As such, he implored the intervention of the Nigerian government to come up with modalities to ensuring the protection of aid workers and facilities.
“This attack jeopardized our work and threatened the lives of many aid workers. Thankfully, our five staff staying in Damasak town escaped unharmed,” he said.
“However, the perpetrators succeeded in setting our guesthouse ablaze and destroying life-saving relief supplies, including vehicles used to deliver aid.
“We condemn these acts of senseless violence. They serve to terrorize humanitarians and the communities we are here to help, and they delay critical aid from reaching families in dire need.
“Humanitarian space is shrinking in northeast Nigeria, and we call on the Government of Nigeria to ensure it is protected.”