From Olatunji Omirin, Maiduguri
Non-governmental Organization, Centre for Social Cohesion Peace and Empowerment (CENSCOPE), have urged federal governments to establish the Centre for Mine Action which would provide succour to the victims of landmines and explosive devices in the country.
The Executive Director of (CENSCOPE), Abubakar Abdullahi Suleiman made this call during this year’s commemoration of International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance for Mine Action with theme:’Mine Action Cannot Wait’ held in Maiduguri on Tuesday.
He said the call for federal governments to establish the Humanitarian Mine Action Centre becomes necessary to ensure the victims of landmines and explosives devices get deserve attention.
He said if the centre is fully inaugurated they would create awareness about the dangers of landmines and other explosive devices and provide necessary assistance to eradicate them.
He further urged that concerted efforts of all partners in the Mine Action Centre would go a way, considering the good work being done by them.
Also, the National Coordinator National Humanitarian Mine Action Committee, Group Captain Sadeeq Garba Shehu(rtd) said insecurity in the North East although greatly reduced, remains a big challenge to returning populations as it limits access to arable land for agricultural production.
He said, according to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).”Since 2016, 755 civilians have been killed and 1,321 injured by explosive ordnance – an average rate of more than one civilian every day.
“Civilians continue to be the main targets of attacks involving person-borne improvised explosive devices Nigeria recorded the second-highest number of improvised explosive device (IED) incidents globally over the past three years with 619 casualties.
“Many areas remain contaminated with unexploded ordnance and will require mine risk/demining services to ensure safe access to farmland for agricultural activities.
“The presence of different types of Explosive Ordnances (EO) prevents safe access to agricultural land essential for food security, restricts freedom of movement critical for protection and hinders early recovery.” He said.
In his welcome, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Faruq represented by the Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Grema Alhaji Kadi has expressed the federal government’s concern about ensuring success in getting all communities that have suffered insurgency rid of explosive devices.
He commended the efforts of international organizations in the fight against landmines and other explosive devices as well as providing necessary assistance to curtail the proliferation of landmines.
In his goodwill message, the Executive Director of the Network for Civil Society Organizations, Comrade Bulama Abiso applauded the efforts of international and domestic organizations in the fight against landmines.
He also called on the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to provide necessary assistance and support.
Represented the General Commanding Officer 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Jane Rokami said that the Nigerian Army is mandated to prioritize the safety of the people.
He assured that the Army would continue to assist Non-Governmental Organizations in identifying and getting rid of explosive devices to achieve the shared goals.
The events were supported by the United Nations Mine Action Services (UNMAS) in collaboration with Non-governmental Organizations, the Centre for Social Cohesion Peace and Empowerment (CENSCOPE) with its consortium partner Initiative for Education Awareness and Economic Development (INEAED) and Reawakening and Initiative Development (RADI).