The new head of delegation for the European Union (EU) and the ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, says over two million people remain displaced from their homes in the North-East.
“More than two million remain displaced from their homes, while hundreds of thousands are living in overcrowded displacement sites, without proper access to sanitation and clean water,” she stated. “More than three million people have food insecurity, and an equally high number of children are suffering from acute malnutrition. The number of out of school children has also increased exponentially.”
The envoy said this on Monday at the premiere of ‘HOPE’, a documentary film sponsored by the EU.
The documentary was based on the ravaging effects of insurgency on displaced populations in northern Nigeria. It tracks the steps of an 11-year-old girl, Mariam Ibrahim, from Bama, whose father was killed when the insurgents overran the town in 2014.
In addition, it also features Muhammad Bello, a former fisherman from Baga, who fled with his family to Zabarmari, a dozen kilometres north of Maiduguri, due to heavy fighting in his hometown in 2015.
“I’m proud that this premiere presents my very first official and public event as Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria after presenting, this morning, my Letter of Credence to President Buhari this morning,” said Ms Isopi. “The film, HOPE, tells us about the challenges that the residents of the northeast faced in their daily lives of which their sources of income were destroyed by the insurgency.”
She added that a decade after the start of the insurgency in the North-East, “the region is still suffering from the loss of lives and property, food insecurity and a very poor standard of living.”
According to the envoy, the EU has committed about €130 million over the past four years to assist the Nigerian government in rebuilding, rehabilitation and peace efforts.
“This support has contributed to the restoration of basic services, such as health and nutrition, agriculture, sanitation, social protection education, conflict management, among others,” explained Ms Isopi. “Thanks to this support, we are happy to see people are gradually returning to their communities with hope for a better future.”
Also speaking, the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Farouq, agreed with the EU envoy about the importance of food security, saying the ministry, through the North-East Development Commission, is addressing the issue.