The European Commission (EU) has provided €21m (about N4.7bn) to help the people in Nigeria and neighbouring countries that are affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
In a statement on Saturday, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, while on a visit to Nigeria, said, “More than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram. Many of them live in precarious conditions in other parts of Nigeria or the neighbouring countries where they have fled.
“Meeting some of them, I saw with my eyes the immense needs that the conflict is causing among civilians. We are stepping up our humanitarian response to the call of those in greatest need.”
Stylianides also expressed concern over the lack of humanitarian access to the people who needed help, adding that there were restrictions of access in many areas, including along the Lake Chad.
According to him, all possible efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organisations can reach those who need their help.
He noted that the new EU funding would provide immediate support, including clean water, food, shelter, health care and protection for the displaced and the host communities in the North-East, as well as to Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries.
“Of this funding, €12.5m will be used to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and €8.5m is for the support of refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad,” the EU commissioner explained.
According to the EU, the new aid comes on top of relief that the commission is providing for the most vulnerable people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition throughout Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
The violent conflict in the North-East, with indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, has displaced 1.5 million people within the country, and forced over 230,000 people to flee to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.
Those displaced people live in precarious conditions and are in need of basic services. In addition, the security situation often prevents humanitarian organisations from reaching those in need to deliver basic supplies.
In the neighbouring countries, the newly arrived refugees put additional strain on the resources of the host communities which already suffer from the consequences of successive food crisis and extreme poverty.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwan Sulaiman, has prayed for the quick release of the Chibok girls.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the emir said this during a courtesy call on him by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
Sulaiman said that insecurity had shattered the development of the North-East geo-political zone of the country.
He said that Dogara as the chosen leader of the House of Representatives should do all he could to assist in the release of the girls.