The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has received a donation of $236, 363 from the Government of Japan to support the UNMAS Nigeria in providing critical life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians and humanitarian actors in the Northeast.
The assistance is to help protect humanitarian actors and internally displaced persons from landmines of an improvised nature, explosive remnants of war and other improvised explosive devices through humanitarian mine action in northeast Nigeria.
Lionel Pechera, Programme Coordinator, UNMAS Nigeria Programme in a statement sent to newsmen yesterday recalled that in 2019, hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children have been killed and injured by these devices.
“UNMAS Nigeria highly appreciates the Government of Japan’s support to the programme and above all to the physical integrity and psychosocial wellbeing of civilian communities affected by the growing and pressing threat of explosives,” said Pechera.
According to him, “Japan’s integrated support strengthens our vital humanitarian mine action operations to ensure that critical life-saving information can be provided to mitigate the explosive ordnance risks amongst all children and adults across the three States in northeast Nigeria.”
Through this effort, he said UNMAS Nigeria will expand the decisive Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in order to prevent future accidents.
“This enormous contribution from the people of Japan will be utilized to conduct in-depth studies on the influence of daily life behaviours on the risk of accident in different locations. It will comprehend to determine how explosive ordnance risk education can be tailored and adapted to the specificities of children, women and men, based on their livelihood such as farming, herding, collection of wood, scrap metal collection and children at play.
“In the framework of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education, one of the main pillars of mine action derived from Mine Risk Education, UNMAS Nigeria, with the financial support of the Government of Japan, will mitigate the explosive risks within conflict-affected community members, IDPs in camps and host communities, refugees, returnees and humanitarian workers. Following 2019 progress to precisely identify needs for mine action assistance with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing, 1.5 million people have been identified immediately at risk who are in need of life-saving assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
“UNMAS takes this opportunity to highlight the unabated commitment of the Government of Japan and Japanese people towards mine action worldwide and most importantly emphasizing the significant contribution made specifically to the protection of civilians and safety of aid workers in northeast Nigeria”.
The statement quoted the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria Kikuta Yutaka, as saying that, ‘the project supports UNMAS’s actions to improve humanitarian access and to increase the provision of life-saving action in the North-East. It is in line with Japan’s Country Development Cooperation Policy for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of which ‘the promotion of peace and stability including reconstruction assistance in the Northeast region is recognized as its priority’.
Yutaka added that “the ongoing global health crisis casts a shadow of uncertainty over one of the Nation’s most vulnerable region. Even in this difficult time, Japan is committed and will continue to offer humanitarian, non-military assistance through UNMAS and other international organizations to mitigate the effect of insurgency in Nigeria”.