By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Wrapping up a four-day visit to Nigeria, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Maurer, met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja.
The two discussed the humanitarian situation in Nigeria, particularly in the conflict-affected North East.
“The discussion with President Buhari focused on the scale of humanitarian needs across Nigeria. Lives and livelihoods of millions of people have been affected by the conflict in the North East, communal clashes or urban violence, particularly in the Middle Belt and Niger Delta,” said Mr Maurer.
Earlier yesterday, Mr Maurer opened a workshop in Abuja on the integration of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) into the operations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force (ESF).
The five-day workshop will address, among other things, the inclusion of relevant legal concepts into the planning of military operations. Some 50 participants — including the ESF Chief of Staff, the headquarters staff, two members each from the 15 troop-contributing countries and officials from the police and civilian components — are attending the ICRC-facilitated workshop.
During his visit, Mr Maurer met with persons affected by urban violence in a Port Harcourt shanty town where the ICRC drilled a borehole and installed water pipes, increasing access to water, as well as gave grants to 240 women breadwinners to start small businesses.
Mr Maurer also met with the Nigerian private/corporate community in Lagos to discuss innovative partnerships in a bid to encourage them to engage more forcefully in supporting humanitarians’ efforts to respond to the needs of people affected by armed conflict and violence.