United Nations office raid: Humanitarian assistance resumes


He said:"At circa 0500 hours today (yesterday), members of the Nigerian security forces entered the United Nations base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri without authorization".

The United Nations yesterday said it has resolved to continue its humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and victims of insurgency in Borno and Nigeria's Northest region despited Friday's military invasion of its headquarters at Pompomari Bye-pass in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

But a spokeswoman, for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Samantha Newport, condemned the raid, saying the army searched the building, without permission. A witness who declined to be named told Agence France-Presse that there was a tense two-hour-long standoff between guards at the compound and the Nigerian forces as they sought to enter the base. This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in Maiduguri metropolis and environment.

"The security forces carried out a search of the tented camp and left the area at circa 0800 hours".

General Ibrahim Attahiru, who commands operations in Borno state where Maiduguri is located, said on Saturday that the army "will continue to work toward providing and enabling a conductive environment to United Nations agencies to enhance their operations".

"In the last one week, cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari-Polo, Muna Garage, and Jakana amongst several other areas".

In a statement emailed to journalists on Saturday morning, Shettima's spokesman, Isa Gusau, said given the critical intervention humanitarian workers have making in the affairs of internally displaced persons, Governor Kashim Shettima was anxious and had to place a phone call with ‎the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the organisation had formally complained to the Nigerian government.

" I am very pleased to report that our relationship of collaboration and trust is intact, and at this stage, we are focused on the work ahead to ensure that the millions of vulnerable people in the Northeast are supported with life-saving humanitarian aid".

But the army said it was not aware that the building housed United Nations personnel, and described the global organisation as one of its strongest and worthy allies in the fight against Boko Haram.

"The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria's north-east is one of the most severe in the world today", said Mr Kallon.

A retired commissioner of police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, however, said there was nothing wrong with the search of the United Nations building by the military since it was geared towards the elimination of terrorism, a goal the world body was also working towards. If they suspected that someone is hiding in the building, they could search it and I don't think the United Nations should object since they are working towards the same goal of fighting insurgency.