The United Nations has condemned the spate of attacks on aid workers providing support to victims of insurgency in the north-eastern region of Nigeria.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, revealed on Thursday that the number of humanitarian workers killed by the insurgents last year was twice the figure recorded in the previous year.
“A total of twelve aid workers have lost their lives in 2019,” he said in a statement forwarded to Channels Television.
The UN envoy added, “This is twice more than in 2018, which we thought was amongst the most dangerous years for humanitarian actors in Nigeria.”
He blamed the killings on the environment in which aid workers carry out their duties, stressing that the level of insecurity in the region has been on the rise.
Kallon also decried the activities of the insurgents at various checkpoints in the region, saying the trend has exposed a lot of innocent citizens to attacks in recent times.
He said, “I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis.
“The humanitarian community is troubled by the increased trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in the states of Borno and Yobe.”
“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heightened risks of being killed or abducted,” the humanitarian coordinator said.
He, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government and all relevant agencies to protect the residents and aid workers from “grave violations” of international laws.
Kallon advised that special attention should be given to women and children who he said were among the most vulnerable people caught up in the violence.
According to him, aid workers and the assistance they provide to the most vulnerable populations make the difference between life and death for entire communities in crisis-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
“Their security is paramount, and I call on all parties to assure the safety of aid workers and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said.