For the fourth consecutive year in 2017, House of Mercy Children’s Home, Lagos, Nigeria (HOM) is undertaking actions in solidarity with the inhabitants of the Northeast region of Nigeria by contributing a token to support on-going efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to children and families affected by insurgent attacks.
According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement, an estimated 470,500 people were displaced in Nigeria in 2013 and 501,000 people in 2016. The crisis is attributed primarily to brutal ambushes carried out by an Islamic rebel group on unsuspecting and unprotected towns in the Northeast region of Nigeria, where the group wields the most power.
Insurgents are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 1,500 people in the first three months of 2014 according to the Nigerian military. Over half of those killed were civilians. The group’s terrorist tactics sparked national and international outrage in April 2014 when militants abducted about 250 girls from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State.
Frequent raids on towns and marketplaces have prompted frightened residents to flee to guarded camps or to cross into Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Families who have fled their homes to escape from insurgent attacks face the threat of hunger and untold suffering.
About half of the displaced people are children, many of whom have missed one or two years of schooling as a result of violence. Displaced children who experience protracted periods out of school are at risk of lifetime disadvantage and face the highest risks of abduction, recruitment, sexual violence and forced marriage. The concentration of problems in the region, namely high rate of poverty, vulnerability, and marginalisation is fuelling communal tensions, inter-religious clashes, intra-religious power struggles and fundamentalism emergence on which the insurgents have been capitalising on since 2013.
We are keeping hope alive for peace and security in the Northeast region of Nigeria and across the nation.
Our vision is of a peaceful African continent where every child feels safe, lives in a safe environment and is protected from maltreatment, neglect, violence and sexual exploitation.
According to a research carried out by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), an estimated 50 billion dollars leave Africa illicitly every year mostly to Western countries while at least one trillion dollars have left Africa secretly over the last 50 years. About 75% of resources that leave the continent’s shores in secrecy are traceable to corporate tax avoidance in the form of trade mispricing by multinational corporations, many with headquarters in G7 countries; debt burden or colonial tax imposed on many former colonies; and criminal networks engaged in drugs and human trafficking, animal poaching, and theft of oil and minerals. Only 5% of the illicit financial flows are traceable to official corruption such as payment of bribes and kickbacks by foreign corporations to government officials so that the country can relinquish control of its natural resources and resource extraction operations. These funds could otherwise have been used for investments in power supplies, schools, hospitals, housing, sanitation, transportation, safe roads and other much needed public services.
Business as usual is not an option for Africa. Delivering and sustaining results for children will require not only action by both governments and the public at large but also a wholesale change in the way we think and the way we act. With adequate social investment in the health, education and protection of children aligned with financial transparency, good governance, enforcement of law and order, natural resource governance and sound economic and environmental management and planning, Africa has the potential to give all the continent’s children the opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential.