The Nigerian government has temporarily lifted a suspension on operations of two aid groups, Mercy Corps and Action Against Hunger, in the country’s northeast. The announcement was made by Sadiya Farouq, Minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development reported Reuters.
“The suspension of the two international humanitarian organizations –Mercy Corps and Action Against Hunger — is temporarily lifted,” said Farouq.
The minister said the government lifted the suspension on the recommendation of a government board of inquiry that looked into their activities. She added that the concerns raised by the army would continue to receive attention and scrutiny and that the government would take new steps to vet and monitor all humanitarian groups working in the region
The army forced Action against Hunger and Mercy Corps to close some of their offices last month as it accused them of aiding terrorist groups. The army claimed that the aid groups were supplying food, fuel, and medicine to Boko Haram insurgents.
Action Against Hunger rejected all the claims, while Mercy Corps expressed concern at the consequences of suspending its operations in northeast Nigeria, saying it left hundreds of thousands of people at risk.
Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, praised the development saying that the effort will strengthen the UN relationship and partnership with the Nigerian government and military.
Islamist militant group Boko Haram has terrorized the northeastern part of Nigeria, killing some 30,000 and forcing two million to flee their homes. In 2016, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) split from Boko Haram and began its own attacks in the region.
The United Nations has described it as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, estimating that 7.1 million people need assistance.