In a bid to alleviate the pains and sufferings associated with the coronavirus pandemic, West Africa’s leading economic body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has donated food items which is worth four million dollars to four of its member states, inclusive of the most populous black nation, Nigeria. This information was revealed by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, Ms Fatima Jagne, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, during the global commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day 2020, in Abuja.
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Represented from the directorate by Mr Alozie Godfrey, Jagne noted that there is a worldwide need for an increase in humanitarian services, but delivering these services is highly confronted with challenges in a world saturated by conflicts and disasters. For this reason, she stated that it is imperative for states and other actors to support efforts made towards preventing crisis and building strong resilience against natural disasters.
“The ECOWAS commission will continue its collaboration with member states and partners to promote the protection of humanitarian workers through policy implementation, sensitisation and advocacy. The commission will also continue to respond to the plights of the affected population through the donation of food and non-food items to reduce the sufferings of the vulnerable population. In this regard, the commission is handing over food worth over four million US Dollars to four-member countries including Nigeria to assuage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Stating that Covid-19 is the biggest challenge that has confronted humanitarian services in this 2020, Jagne emphasised that other factors such as lack of access and restrictions placed by the government of numerous countries throughout the globe have seen communities, civil societies, and local non-governmental organizations become the leaders of initiatives aimed at making life easier for human beings. With this, she noted that it is of a necessity for resources to be localised in other to improve the activities of first responders.
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Commenting on the theme for this year’s observance of the World Humanitarian Day, ‘’Real Life Heroes,’’ Jagne highlighted that it was aimed at the source of motivation for humanitarians who have continued to save and protect the lives of numerous lives despite the challenges and threats posed by insecurity, conflict, restricted access, and COVID-19.
“This year’s campaign affords us the opportunity to appreciate the inspiring and selfless assistance carried out by humanitarians who risk and dedicate their lives in crisis and peace times treating and preventing COVID-19. Administering vaccines, providing food, setting up safe spaces for women and girls, and containing locust invasions despite the pandemic. We all must join hands in supporting our #RealLifeHeroes this World Humanitarian Day and going forward. As humanitarian workers deliver aid, and medical workers help the injured and sick, oftentimes, they are directly targeted and prevented from bringing relief and care to those in distress.”
Further, Jagne stated that owing to the recklessness displayed in the administration of modern welfare, civilians in most cases become targets of most conflicts. She, however, called for moral and legal obligation from all parties involved in conflicts towards abiding by the rules of International Humanitarian Law that were provided for in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols involved.
“Preventive and proactive peacetime measures aimed at ensuring better respect for International Humanitarian Law must be encouraged. These actions will help create the enabling environment for aid workers to work.”
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