Government and non-governmental agencies with responsibilities for addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North-east have been asked to focus on harnessing social and human capital – instead of material aid – among the displaced populations.
This approach was emphasised in Abuja on Tuesday during a workshop themed “Rethinking humanitarian action institutions of federal displacement: Focus on Northeast Nigeria.”
The workshop, which had in attendance IDPs and featured a multi-disciplinary gathering, was sponsored by De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom’s Global Challenges Research Fund.
The project lead, Seun Kolade, said the workshop sought to explore how humanitarian actions could be redesigned around refugees and IDPs as the main actors and not just recipients of aid.
He further emphasised the need to move away from material solutions and financial input to a more sustainable approach that combines both material and social solutions.
A sustainable approach reduces the insurgents’ reliance on humanitarian actors and it encourages independence, he said.
“Traditional, mainly material approaches to interventions in disaster situations have come under increased scrutiny in recent years because they have failed to deliver desired long-term outcomes and have encountered resource and capacity constraints in the face of continually expanding humanitarian crises.
“The project, therefore, seeks a shift to an approach that combines both material and social solutions. It examines the extent to which the displaced populations are drawing on social and human capital to withstand, cope with, and recover from the adverse experiences and consequences of the insurgency and counterinsurgency,” he said.
Speaking at the workshop, Shehu Sani, a senator in the Eighth Assembly, who led the famous grasscutting investigation, expressed worry that the Boko Haram crisis has become an industry exploited by various interests.
Mr Sani’s investigation led to the sack of former Secretary to the Governmental of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who is now facing trial for contract fraud charges.
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