Nigeria lifts ban on groups it accused of feeding Boko Haram terrorists

Nigeria has lifted a ban it placed on United Nations affiliated humanitarian groups operating in the restive northeast region.

The federal government of Nigeria has lifted a ban on the operations of two prominent international aid groups.

The aid groups are Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps, who have been dispensing humanitarian support to displaced persons in Nigeria’s restive northeast region.

The government had accused the groups of providing food and medicines to members of the Boko Haram terrorist sect.
The shutdown

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, Mercy Corps announced that it was suspending its operations in Nigeria because the Army had shut down its offices in Borno and Yobe states without an official explanation.

“Mercy Corps is suspending operations in Borno and Yobe States, Nigeria, following the closure of four of our field offices by the Nigerian military.

“We have not yet received an official reason from the Nigerian authorities for the closure and we are seeking to work with them to resolve this as soon as possible,” the agency had said.

A week before, the Army announced a similar ban on Action Against Hunger, stating that credible intelligence revealed that the Paris-based agency had been supplying food and medication to Boko Haram terrorists.

“AAH has been declared persona non grata for aiding Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa by supplying them food and drugs despite warning from the TC – OPLD,” the Army announced.

The aid groups had denied the allegations.
A lifting of the ban and relieved aid groups

On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, the government lifted the ban on the aid groups but said all non-governmental groups must be vetted and registered before they can offer humanitarian aid.

The government will also screen all vendors working with aid groups, the government added.

The United Nations says humanitarian groups in Nigeria are relieved after the government lifted the ban on the operations of the two prominent international aid groups.

The U.N. humanitarian office in Nigeria says that with the lifting of the ban, more than 350,000 people will receive the food assistance they have waited for.

The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the region. Millions have been displaced, more than 50,000 have been killed and hundreds have been abducted since Boko Haram commenced its war against the Nigerian state in 2009.

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