Today, in line with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly at its 63rd session held in December 2008, we join the rest of the world to appreciate our unarmed humanitarian workers who more often than others are exposed to extreme dangers in difficult circumstances. It is our respect and gratitude for their contributions that has led the international communicate to designate August 19 as World Humanitarian Day.
As we continue to urge for more support and appreciate people who put their sweat and blood on the line for the whole of humanity, I enjoin Nigerians to continue to sustain and uphold the qualities of compassion and selflessness to the less fortunate people. I believe that it is fitting to take the time for prayer and reflection to remember the victims of conflict and other complex humanitarian crisis, and the brave men and women around the world who selflessly and unflinchingly come to their aid.
This year’s World Humanitarian Day theme is “One Humanity”, this theme manifests my favourite definition of humanitarianism, which is “the ethical doctrine that humanity’s obligations are concerned wholly with the welfare of the human race.”
For the past year, I have closely monitored the severe humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria. My visits to Borno State have made me keenly aware of the tremendous challenge the situation poses to our domestic and international response capabilities. The coordination and material challenges of this area are unprecedented in our country’s history, therefore, the crisis demands an unprecedented intervention from Nigeria and the international community.
For the sake of the thousands of families that have had their lives uprooted by the terrorist actions of Boko Haram, I offer the following recommendations which are intended to begin the relief, recovery and rehabilitation of the North East region.
First, I call for a North East Nigeria International Donors Conference, which will review the interventions thus far, identify the coordination and service-delivery gaps, and renew the calls for donors to honour their pledges.
Secondly, the Senate will conduct a Public Hearing on North East Nigeria for all stakeholders in the humanitarian community, with the goal of developing a sustainable framework for the situation there and future complex emergencies.
Upon the resumption of the 8th Senate in September, we have prioritised the passage of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill. This legislation is intended to be the primary rehabilitation and development program for the affected areas.
With the NEDC and the ongoing oversight and advocacy effort of the Senate, and the National Assembly as a whole, we are working as hard as we can to provide protection and relief for the North East.
On World Humanitarian Day, we want the internally displaced people (IDPs) of North East Nigeria; the brave domestic (SEMA and NEMA) and international aid agencies; and the security services to know that we are all one Nigeria, and we must stand together during these challenging times.
Dr. Bukola Saraki is the Nigerian Senate President