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Press Release: UNMAS welcomes Japan’s USD 236k contribution for life-saving humanitarian assistance in Northeast Nigeria

4 Apr 2020

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) welcomes the generous contribution of USD 236,363 from the Government of Japan to support the UNMAS Nigeria in providing critical life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians and humanitarian actors from landmines of an improvised nature, explosive remnants of war and other improvised explosive devices through humanitarian mine action in northeast Nigeria. In 2019 again, hundreds of civilians to include women and children have been killed and injured by these devices.

“UNMAS Nigeria highly appreciates the Government of Japan’s support to the programme and above all to the physical integrity and psychosocial wellbeing of civilian communities affected by the growing and pressing threat of explosives” said Lionel Pechera, UNMAS Programme Coordinator. He further added that “Japan’s integrated support strengthens our vital humanitarian mine action operations to ensure that critical life-saving information can be provided to mitigate the explosive ordnance risks amongst all children and adults across the three States in northeast Nigeria.”

Through this effort, UNMAS Nigeria will expand the decisive Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in order to prevent future accidents. This enormous contribution from the people of Japan will be utilized to conduct in-depth studies on the influence of daily life behaviors on the risk of accidents in different locations. It will comprehend to determine how explosive ordnance risk education can be tailored and adapted to the specificities of children, women and men, based on their livelihood such as farming, herding, collection of wood, scrap metal collection and children at play.

In the framework of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education, one of the main pillars of mine action derived from Mine Risk Education, UNMAS Nigeria, with the financial support of the Government of Japan, will mitigate the explosive risks within conflict-affected community members, IDPs in camps and host communities, refugees, returnees and humanitarian workers. Following 2019 progress to precisely identify needs for mine action assistance with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing, 1.5 million people have been identified immediately at risk who are in need for life-saving assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. 

His Excellency Kikuta Yutaka, Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria said, “The project supports UNMAS actions to improve humanitarian access and to increase the provision of life-saving action in the North-East. It is in line with Japan’s Country Development Cooperation Policy for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of which “the promotion of peace and stability including reconstruction assistance in the Northeast region” is recognized as its priority”. He added “the ongoing global health crisis casts a shadow of uncertainty over one of the Nations’ most vulnerable region. Even in this difficult time, Japan is committed and will continue to offer humanitarian, non-military assistance through UNMAS and other international organizations to mitigate the effect of insurgency in Nigeria.”

UNMAS takes this opportunity to highlight the unabated commitment of the Government of Japan and Japanese people towards mine action worldwide and, most importantly, emphasizing the significant contribution made specifically to the protection of civilians and the safety of aid workers in northeast Nigeria.

Mr. Lionel Pechera, UNMAS Nigeria Programme, Programme Coordinator, lionelp@unops.org