President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to be advocates of humanity considering the millions of people affected by wars, natural disasters, sickness and famine and those working to relieve their sufferings.
Mr. Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President, Namadi Sambo, gave the charge Tuesday, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, on the commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day in the country.
The event was put together by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, with the theme: “More People than Ever before Need Our Help”.
Mr. Jonathan regretted that “those in need desperately require our help but our ability to reach out to them is sadly increasingly challenging and at risk.”
He said humanitarian workers have no other agenda than saving lives and delivering the basic necessities of life which include food, water, shelter, medical care and protection for the most vulnerable.
Mr. Jonathan noted that in spite of the passion of the humanitarian workers to save lives, they sometimes become targets of hostilities in the cause of discharging their duty.
“Violent attacks on humanitarian personnel are increasingly becoming more frequent and brutal and in the last decade, the number of attacks on them has tripled, resulting in more than 100 deaths annually,” he said.
He commended the courage of the medical personnel and consoled with the families of those who lost their lives.
“Recently some medical personnel, driven by passion and a strong sense of our common humanity, went beyond the call of duty to try to save the life of Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian carrier of the Ebola Virus and as a result got infected and some casualties were even recorded,” he said.
He assured that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ensure that those still alive got the best medical attention while praying to God to save their lives. He consoled the families of those who lost their lives at the bombing of the United Nations (UN) building in Abuja in 2011 and other acts of insurgency, assuring that the country will soon overcome the evil of insurgency in the country.
He urged all Nigerians to continue to support the Transformation Agenda of the Administration by helping in finding solutions to the societal challenges.
The Vice President disclosed that President Jonathan had taken a giant step by setting up two important committees, the Presidential Flood Relief Rehabilitation Committee, chaired by Aliko Dangote and Victims of Terror Support Fund chaired by Theophilius Danjuma, all aimed at cushioning the effects of natural disasters.
In his remark, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Sani Sidi, stated that commemorating the day had become imperative in view of the upsurge of growing threats, attacks, kidnapping, maiming, injury and loss of lives of humanitarian aid workers during both local and international operations.
He said, “Under the grim scenarios of conflicts and natural disasters, humanitarians have committed their lives, worked with their hearts, sweat and blood to save lives and bring succor to the distresses in times when the major concern of everyone is self-preservation”.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Humanitarian Heroes Register to Mr. Sambo by the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Hadiza Kangiwa who explained that the register was intended to be an official record where humanitarian workers both in government and non-governmental sectors were listed for demonstrating exceptional qualities, perseverance and courage beyond the call of duty.