A top UN official has stated that Nigeria’s struggle against Boko Haram and ISWAP militants cannot be won on the battlefield.
Martin Griffiths, the chief of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The Associated Press that terrorists are still dangerous and frightening.
In 2022, he warned, the situation will require more than $1 billion in aid to help individuals affected by the decade-long conflict.
Griffiths encouraged stronger community building activities, saying, “You can’t win on the battlefield.”
“In the imaginations of the people who live there, you win civil wars. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have on your side if you don’t have the communities on your side. You’re not going to make peace,” he says.
Griffiths encouraged the international community to remember the ongoing damage inflicted by Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province, which are jointly accused for the deaths of tens of thousands of people and the displacement of millions.
“This is a completely distinct type of procedure, and it’s also extremely tough to prevent” Griffiths stated in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital
“The world must remember that this is a tragedy that must be resolved.”
In 2009, Boko Haram, a group of Nigerian Islamic extremists, started an insurgency in the country’s northeast to combat western education and impose Islamic Shariah rule.
Their insurgency has extended to the neighboring West African countries of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad throughout the years.
When Boko Haram seized 276 schoolgirls in Chibok village in 2014, they received international outcry, triggering the #BringBackOurGirls movement. More than a hundred of the abducted pupils have yet to be found.
According to the United Nations Development Program, around 35,000 people have died as a result of the fighting. “An additional nine persons, predominantly youngsters, have died owing to a shortage of food and resources for each fatality,” the United Nations agency reported in a report released in June last year.