International NGO Community endeavor to provide lifesaving relief, recovery and development assistance in NE Nigeria

ABUJA, October 30, 2019 – The Nigerian INGO Forum – a platform of 50 international non-government organizations (INGOs) – draws attention to the urgent needs and our continued commitment to continue providing life-saving, recovery and development assistance to the 7.1 million people in need in the north-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

This year alone, INGOs along with other stakeholders including the government, UN, national and local civil society have provided critical and life-saving assistance to almost 3.8 million civilians most affected by the 10-year conflict. More than 2.1 million people have been reached with food assistance, and some 187,360 severely malnourished children were treated in facilities supported by government and humanitarian organisations. The humanitarian community has responded to rapid and multiple displacements, ensuring that the lives and dignity of the vulnerable population can continue to be provided for. While development efforts in the north-east are absolutely necessary, and to which we have been committed to in Adamawa, Yobe and parts of Borno states, the context in other parts of Borno state necessitates populations to receive lifesaving assistance. Over 140,000 people have been forced to flee in Borno so far this year, most of whom required rapid humanitarian assistance.

During his two-day visit to Nigeria, International NGOs met with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, to discuss ways to continue an effective and efficient response in challenging circumstances. Through a press release from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, INGOs are pleased with the announcement that Action Against Hunger (AAH) and Mercy Corps suspension of operations that has been ongoing for over a month has now been temporarily lifted. This will ensure that life-saving activities can soon resume.

NIF member organisations work according to international regulations, national laws and local regulations, are duly registered in Nigeria through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, and copies of INGO registration are shared with and acknowledged by the mandated bodies of the respective State governments. All member organisations provide necessary reports and remain accountable to the established systems and processes. INGOs also implement mitigation measures, including eligibility and compliance checks, internal controls for tenders, segregation of duties, asset verification, authority approval procedures, periodic internal and external audits, and engage community feedback mechanisms. INGOs also engage in the existing civilian military coordination mechanisms and notification procedures for cash, staff and cargo movements with the relevant bodies. INGOs remain committed to upholding the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, independence, international humanitarian law as well as Nigerian legislation, so that life-saving assistance will continue to reach the most vulnerable populations in a timely, efficient and effective way.

According to Jubril Shittu, Acting Director of Nigeria INGO Forum, “the INGO community recognizes the role of the Nigerian government in leading the humanitarian effort to support its most vulnerable citizens and will support all efforts to do so. We reaffirm that we are fully committed to working with Nigerian authorities and welcome an open dialogue to clarify any concerns they may have about INGOs”. Mobilising more local action to better serve the communities is imperative, and INGOs are increasingly investing resources to support their local and national counterparts.