The Nigerian government has said the operations of non-governmental organisations in the restive north east region must be in line with the country’s security needs and requirements.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Safiya Umar, said this at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
The announcement came weeks after the Nigerian Army barricaded two international groups in Borno State and stopped them from operating.
Ms Umar said the government will take a bigger responsibility in the management of the humanitarian situation in the region.
The Nigerian Army had earlier stopped the Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps.
The Army said without giving evidence that they were suspended for alleged involvement in activities capable of sabotaging the military counter-insurgency operations.
These activities were said to include supplying food, fuel and medicine to Boko Haram insurgents.
Ms Umar said the suspension of the organisations is to enable the government to carry out a review of the situation.
This, she said will enable the delivery of better services to the IDPs.
“We have reviewed concerns both locally and internationally on the recent concerns of the suspension of some NGOs in the North-East.
“Much as their humanitarian engagements are cherished by the government, they must be at the same time streamlined to be in line with our security needs and requirements,” she said.
She said recent activities of some unscrupulous persons connected with the organisations were worrisome and threatened the success of military operations.
She said investigations were ongoing by the military to verify the allegations and address the situation.
She appealed to all parties to exercise patience and be optimistic about a peaceful resolution of the matter.
After the briefing, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, visited the minister.
He said the EU has over the last few years provided humanitarian aid of €209 million to the country.
He also said the regional bloc was starting to implement social protection and recovering aid to the North East in general in the order of €200 million.
He also said the new minister will get all the necessary support needed.
“A strong strategic plan of the minister is in place. We will support the coordination role going forward,”he said.