The Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has inaugurated the Committee on Humanitarian Mine Action for the North-East, in Abuja.
According to the Minister, “when an armed conflict is over, the battlefields are often littered with explosive debris. Much of this debris is still dangerous, in particular stocks of weapons left behind by combatants and explosive munitions that were fired but failed to go off as intended. As seen in other parts of the world, long after conflicts have ended, explosive ordnance could continue to kill, injure and impact the daily life of affected communities.
“Each year, large numbers of civilians are killed and injured by explosive remnants of war. These are the unexploded weapons such as artillery shells, mortars, grenades, bombs and rockets, left behind after an armed conflict. A new, more complex contamination, that includes improvised explosive devices (IEDs), has a severe impact on civilians and infrastructure.”
The Minister said that the local communities often have no means of dealing with the problem themselves. Most do not have the technical capacity or the resources to clear explosive remnants of war safely and few are the resources needed to deal with the psychological, medical and rehabilitative needs of victims, for a safe return of IDPs, refugees in the North East, as well as for farming activities to resume, agricultural lands must be surveyed for explosive contamination, and farmers provided with Explosive Ordnance Risk Education.
Sadiya further disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari, during the commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day 2022, directed the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, to come up with a solution to the threat of explosive ordnance.
She said “It is therefore, in compliance with the Presidential Directive, to save our citizens in the North East from the threat of explosive ordnances, that this National Humanitarian Mine Action Committee was inaugurated.
Members of the Committee are as follows:
I. Group Captain Sadeeq Garba Shehu (Rtd) – National Coordinator
II. Mr Khalifa Muhammad Lawal (NEDC) – member
III. Mr Jatau Usman Abba (FMHADMSD) – member
IV. Adeyemi Jimoh Ademola ( FMHADMSD) – member
V. Abdullahi Usur (NEMA) – member
VI. Fatima Mamman Daura (NCFRMI) – member
VII. Nadia Muhammed Soso (FMHADMSD) – member
VIII. Representative of National Commission for Persons with Disability.
The Minister also sworn in three Ambassadors of Peace and Safety namely:
a. Bello Yaro Muhammad,
b. Alh. Muhammad Sani,
c. Musa Muhammad Boza.
Sadiya charged the committee to be committed to the national assignment to save lives and assist victims of explosive ordnance.
She equally called on the International Partners and Donors, UN agencies and the Diplomatic Corps to support the committee to achieve its mandate.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Nasir Sani- Gwarzo mni, NPOM, stated that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has been in existence for three years and many of its mandates have reached maturity. It further stated that a lot of additional programmes that are both of national interest and of international concern are to be rolled out.
He said one of such very important programmes in the history of our nation is the effect of mines and explosives and how it affects people, especially in communities that have been devastated either by civil unrest or by terrorism. Such communities, occasionally in their bid to hurriedly go back to their homelands, go back at a great risk, and within the spate of a few days, many members of such communities become victims of explosions of mines, as a result, the Honourable Minister directed that action should commence on the programme.
The National Coordinator, National Humanitarian Mine Action, Group Captain Sadeeq Garba Shehu (Rtd), on behalf of the newly inaugurated Committee, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for giving them the opportunity to serve the nation in that capacity. He pledged the committee’s readiness to deliver on the mandate given to them to save lives and to assist victims of explosive ordnance.