Report (by two international humanitarian groups) indicates that over 14 million Nigerians are unswervingly affected by humanitarian watersheds in the North-east region of the country.
The figure was given on Monday in Abuja by the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative from the United States and the Stefanus Foundation, which based in Nigeria.
Mark Lipdo, Executive Director of the Stefanus Foundation, speaking to journalists during a programme organised to highlight the challenges of terror victims in the country, said an investigation carried out by the groups revealed the figure.
According to him, “14.8 million Nigerians from Northeast are directly impacted by the crisis. Officially, there are 2.2 million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. “Unofficially, there are five to seven million IDPs. Those in need of special assistance are 2.5 million, including children under the age of five, pregnant women and nursing mothers.”
Mr. Lipdo also stressed that, the menace of terrorism has had an eclectic range of casualties, which he listed to comprise 611 teachers who died as a result of extremism in the north east; 19,000 teachers displaced, 1,500 schools shut down, and 950,000 children deprived of the opportunity of accessing education.
Others include 13,000 churches abandoned, closed down or demolished, 2000 children kidnapped and 10,000 boys enforced to join Boko Haram.
Mr. Lipdo further stated that, “Global Terrorism index shows that Boko Haram is the world’s most deadly terrorist group, followed by ISIS, while Al-Qaeda levels third and the Fulani militants mostly in the middle belt rank 4th.”
While Vice President of the 21st Wilberforce Initiative, Elijah Brown, added that in December 2015, the number of IDPs scattered around Nigeria alone were more than 2 million. “As of December 2015, there were 2,152,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria – the third highest figure in Africa and the seventh in the world,” he said.
Mr. Brown also stated that the activities of Fulani herdsmen were having an appalling effect on the middle belt and called for immediate action against the menace. According to him, “Without intervention, the crisis in the Middle Belt will continue to heighten and could affect other countries in West African region like the Republic of Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, and Niger.”
Co-organisers of the program, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, appealed to world leaders to respond to government’s call towards supporting Nigeria in addressing the issues of humanitarian crisis created by extremist activities across the nation.
Samson Ayokunle (CAN president) said various reports in the past had shown that the degree of humanitarian crisis affecting Nigerians as a result of terror were more than those of similar situations in most parts of the world.
“The situation is considered by international bodies as the biggest humanitarian disaster all over the world.
“A disturbing fact about the problem is that it has not received considerable humanitarian response from the world’s most influential nations as other disasters of relatively smaller degrees in other parts of the world. “I am therefore calling on the world’s powerful nations to come to the aid of Nigeria in seeing to the end of insurgency”.