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President Buhari speaks on NGOs-military face-off in Borno

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday lamented that the tension between Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the security apparatus in crisis ridden North-East deteriorated into a full-blown crisis.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Defense, Maj Gen. Bashir Magashi, at the on-going workshop on civil security cooperation in humanitarian interventions in the North-east held in Maiduguri, said the workshop will foster solid relationship among actors in the North-East.

“The relationship between humanitarian and security actors responding to the humanitarian crisis is always fraught with mistrust in many theatres of conflict globally.

“In the North-East of Nigeria, the tension between the CSOs and the security apparatus deteriorated into a full-blown impasse this year, which ultimately resulted in the suspension of activities of some NGOs by the Operation Lafiya Dole Theater Command. These challenges have had an adverse effect on humanitarian response.

“It was agreed that there was an urgent need to develop a Civil Security Cooperation (CISEC) framework for humanitarian interventions in the North-East.

“Our gathering here today is to strategise and stress the importance of fostering a better relationship between the military, para-military and other humanitarian actors in the face of the crisis in the North-East,” Buhari said.

The president expressed hope that the workshop will lay the critical foundation to foster better relations between the Civil Security Organizations (CSOs) and the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies with the sole objective targeted at ensuring better collaboration, cooperation and coherence in their activities in the North-East.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, explained that its core mandate is the development of humanitarian policies and the effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions in Nigeria.

“It is apparent that where civil-security relations are poorly managed, humanitarian action may inadvertently compound other security problems. Meanwhile, it has become obvious that it is increasingly more difficult for humanitarian organizations to operate independently in humanitarian environments.

“The presence of security operatives in many of the crisis ridden areas makes those communities safe and accessible for humanitarian actors to carry out their activities. Therefore, the need to ensure cordial, and constructive relations between civil and security actors cannot be over emphasized,’’ she said.

On his part, Governor Babagana Zulum emphasized the need for proper coordination of all humanitarian interventions in the state.

The governor also reiterated his administration’s resolve to understand all forms of interventions offered by the various humanitarian actors in the state.

‘We are not against any NGO but our concern is that we must know who is working in our state, where they work and what support they offer to avoid duplication of duty,’’ Gov. Zulum said.

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