An estimated 35,000 persons have lost their lives in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States and other parts of Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2009, the United Nations has said.
“These are 35,000 too many deaths,” it said in a statement.
The agency also said 37 aid workers lost their lives in the course of their duties in the region.
This was disclosed in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in commemoration of its humanitarian day.
“In total, 37 aid workers have lost their lives in service of humanity since the beginning of the conflict. We are here together to honour them and their grieving families, relatives, and children surviving them.
“As I stand before you today, my thoughts also go to the families of our colleagues who are still being held captive by armed groups. The UN and its humanitarian partners call for their immediate release and return to safety.
“My heart also goes out to the families of the thousands of civilians who have been similarly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown,” it said.
“Today, we are here together to remind the world that the humanitarian crisis hitting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states is far from over.
“The less attention we pay to the crisis in the North-east, the more risks face our colleagues who are working in extremely volatile areas struck by violence and devastation.
“As respect for the laws of war weakens, aid workers are increasingly vulnerable, though they are more needed than ever before,” it added.
Honouring the dead
The UN also acknowledged the female humanitarian workers deployed in the North-east and the ones who died in the line of duty.
“Women are active in every aspect of humanitarian action: from negotiating access to people in need to addressing deadly diseases such as measles and cholera. From reuniting separated children to ensuring people uprooted by natural disasters and conflict have shelter, access to clean water, healthcare, food and education,” it said.
“Women humanitarians bring a unique perspective to this work through their understanding of the specific needs and priority of girls and women.
“And women humanitarians extend our global humanitarian access in parts of the world by their ability to reach women and girls who might otherwise be out-of-reach and bring them the information, support and services they need.
“Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, Hauwa Mohammed Liman; they were midwives with ICRC and were executed after being held in captivity by non-state armed groups for more than six months. Both aid workers were abducted from Rann town, Borno State in March 2018 along with a nurse from UNICEF who is still held in captivity.
“Faye Mooney, she was a British communications and learning specialist with the non-governmental organisation, Mercy Corps. She lost her life in an attack by gunmen in Kaduna State earlier this year.”