EU provides N4bn relief for Boko Haram victims

By The Citizen

The European Commission (EU) has provided €21m (about N4.7bn) to help the populations in Nigeria and neighbouring countries that are affected by the violence inflicted by Boko Haram.

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 the greatest need.'

Stylianides also expressed concern over the lack of humanitarian access to the people who need help, adding that there were restrictions of access in many areas, including along Lake Chad.

According to him, all possible efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organisations can be there for those who need their help.

He noted that the new EU funding would provide immediate support including clean water, food, shelter, healthcare and protection to the displaced and the host communities in the north-eastern part of the country, as well as to Nigerian refugees in the neighbouring countries.

'Of this funding, €12.5m will be used to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and €8.5m to support the 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 to the most vulnerable people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition throughout Nigeria and neighbouring countries.

The violent conflict in 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 food crises and extreme poverty.