Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has continued to mourn four aid workers slain by Boko Haram terrorists. In a statement by his spokesman, Isa Gusau, yesterday in Maiduguri, the governor described the victims as heroes of peace.
“I’m deeply pained by the terrorists’ execution of aid workers,” he said. According to him, the aid workers died as heroes of the fight against Boko Haram to restore peace in the state. Before executing the aid workers few days ago, the bandits had demanded $500,000 (about N190 million) as ransom.
The governor was informed of the execution on Wednesday while he was at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) office in Abuja to discuss civil defence volunteer programme in the state.
The insurgents had released a video Wednesday showing five blindfolded aid workers and shot four of them at close range. One of the workers was, however, spared though he was also positioned for execution.
The aid workers were abducted last month during a humanitarian mission to support 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Monguno camp. Also, Zulum condoled with their families and employers, including Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Action Against Hunger, Reach International, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
He directed a delegation to immediately visit the bereaved families and participate in the funeral.
CONDEMNING the killing, the European Union (EU) has appealed for the adherence to international humanitarian law and the safeguard of human rights.
European Commissioner for Management in the Von der Leyen Commission, Janez Lenarčič, stated in Abuja yesterday that conflict “is not an excuse to breach these rules and target humanitarian workers and civilians.”He condoled with the families, friends and colleagues of the five victims and lamented the extremely difficult time for the humanitarian community in Nigeria.
“Humanitarian workers have one mission – that of saving lives. At a time humanitarian needs are at their highest in North East Nigeria, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, relief workers continue to selflessly help the people in need whom this aid is lifeline. Saving the lives of others should not cost lives,” Lenarčič said.
Also, EU Nigeria office spokesman, Modestus Chukwulaka, expressed shock over the incident
DESPITE the gruesome execution of the aid workers in Borno, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, has vowed to continue assisting about 10.6 million people in need in the country.
Kallon stated yesterday in Maiduguri: “I am utterly shocked and horrified by the gruesome killing of some of our colleagues and partners by non-state armed groups in Borno. My most heartfelt condolences go to their loved ones, families, friends and co-workers.”He described the slain aid workers as committed humanitarians, who devoted their lives to helping vulnerable people in insurgency-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
“Our colleagues and partners were abducted while travelling on a main route connecting the northern town of Monguno with Maiduguri, the state capital.“Their safety and securing their safe release had been our highest priority since they were captured last month,” he said.
According to Kallon, 10.6 million people need urgent support as conflict-affected states fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has claimed so many lives.He vowed that the killing would not deter the international community from providing aid to millions of people that desperately need assistance.