Increasing insecurity in recent months in north-east Nigeria and other Lake Chad Basin border areas poses additional protection challenges for children and their families, with clashes between armed elements and government forces preventing the timely delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid to those in need.
The situation is particularly worrisome in the Borno state where hostilities have led to the displacement of more than 65,000 people in recent months, resulting in increasing humanitarian and protection needs for boys, girls, and their families. Humanitarian hubs in Dikwa and Damasak have been deliberately attacked as have humanitarian workers while carrying out their operations which has affected the delivery of service.
Direct attacks targeting humanitarian workers and facilities by armed groups such as those affiliated with or splintered from Boko Haram have forced humanitarian and non-governmental organizations out of the region, leaving communities relying on such aid even more vulnerable.
“I call on all parties to ensure the safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to children across the Lake Chad Basin region and to allow child protection and all humanitarian personnel to do their important and life-saving work,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.
“The denial of humanitarian access to boys and girls in armed conflict is one of the six grave violations against children showing a dramatic increase in recent years, with a rise of more than 400% in 2019. Throughout 2020, we have continued to receive worrying reports of grave violations against children including abduction and the denial of humanitarian assistance, not only in Nigeria but across the whole Lake Chad Basin region (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger),” she added.
“The work of humanitarian and child protection personnel on the ground is instrumental in ensuring the protection of boys and girls from hostilities and I call on the International Community to continue to support them both politically and financially.”