Maiduguri is the center of the eight-year-old fight against Boko Haram
The fighters attacked the city’s suburbs with anti-aircraft guns and several suicide bombers
A total of 13 people were killed in the multiple explosions with 24 persons injured
– by Lanre Ola
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters), June 08, 2017: Boko Haram insurgents launched their biggest attack on the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri in 18 months on Wednesday night, the eve of a visit by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to war refugees sheltering there.
Police said that 14 people were killed before government troops beat back the raid.
Maiduguri is the center of the eight-year-old fight against Boko Haram, which has been trying to set up an Islamic caliphate in the northeast.
The fighters attacked the city’s suburbs with anti-aircraft guns and several suicide bombers, said Damian Chukwu, police commissioner of Borno State, of which Maiduguri is the capital.
“A total of 13 people were killed in the multiple explosions with 24 persons injured while one person died in the attack (shooting),” he told reporters.
Osinbajo went ahead with his visit to Maiduguri, planned prior to the attack, launching a food aid initiative for people displaced by the insurgency, his spokesman Laolu Akande said.
President Muhammadu Buhari handed power to Osinbajo after going to Britain on medical leave on May 7.
Aid workers and Reuters witnesses reported explosions and heavy gunfire for at least 45 minutes in the southeastern and southwestern outskirts of the city. Thousands of civilians fled the fighting, according to Reuters witnesses.
The police commissioner said several buildings were set on fire but the military repulsed the fighters after an hour.
The raid took place six months after Buhari said Boko Haram had “technically” been defeated by a military campaign that had pushed many insurgents deep into the remote Sambisa forest, near the border with Cameroon.
More than 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s campaign to establish a caliphate in the Lake Chad basin. A further 2.7 million have been displaced, creating one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies.
Despite the military’s success in liberating cities and towns, much of Borno remains off-limits, hampering efforts to deliver food aid to nearly 1.5 million people believed to be on the brink of famine.
(Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
TCF, which started operations in 1994, is the charity wing of the Chanrai family which set up the first Indian company in Nigeria in 1923
The Nigerian government has accorded TCF the status of an International NGO
Over 1.5 million mothers and children have been provided access to basic healthcare services by this organization
Accra (Ghana) June 6, 2017: An Indian-origin charitable organization, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF), has provided public healthcare to over three million disadvantaged children and adults in Nigeria.
TCF achieved the feat in the past two decades through its three key programmes: Mission for Vision, Mission for Primary Health and Mission for Water.
TCF, which started operations in 1994, is the charity wing of the Chanrai family which set up the first Indian company in Nigeria in 1923. The company has since become one of the most successful and respected business houses in the country.
The TCF report for 2015-16 said the Chanrai family has businesses in the areas of trade, manufacturing, agriculture and finance and currently employs about 30,000 people in Nigeria. It is one of the largest employer of local staff among the private sector in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has accorded TCF the status of an International NGO.
Since its inception, the TCF report said, more than 100,000 eye surgeries had been performed in Nigeria, restoring vision to the poor.
Also, over 1.5 million mothers and children have been provided access to basic healthcare services.
In the same period, 4,384 hand pumps and 85 solar and electric bore holes have been rehabilitated to provide potable water to 1.95 million people.
“When Nigeria is battling internally with acute insurgency and economic recession for a protracted period, TCF remain committed to extending its services unabated and assist the needy across the country,” the report said.
In 2015-16, the TCF said, it undertook several other projects including setting up the G.K. Chanrai Memorial Hospital in Zaria Kaduna.
From April 15, 2015, to March 16 last year, a total of 195,317 people were treated and 83,050 infants immunized.
The report said its Mission for Vision program aimed to reduce avoidable blindness, predominantly cataract, among the rural poor of Nigeria by providing high-quality ophthalmic surgeries for free.
“As a result, a large number of underprivileged people in and around Katsina, Kebbi and Cross River states have been able to avail of high-quality eye treatment for cataract and glaucoma at no cost.” (IANS)
Africa, April 19, 2017: The World Food Program is sounding the alarm over a severe funding shortfall in Nigeria that could endanger the lives of 4.7 million people affected by hunger in the nation’s volatile northeast.
The U.N. agency has received just under 15 percent of the $416 million it needs for its operations in Nigeria this year.
In the next five or six months, says WFP Acting Regional Communications Officer Elizabeth Bryant, the U.N. agency needs $200 million to keep feeding Nigeria’s hunger-stricken population.
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Experts predict that the annual lean season — usually, the waiting period before the next harvest — could come as early as May, after two years of failed harvests in the agricultural northeast, Bryant told VOA, adding that funding needs are urgent.
“We need it now, ” she said from Dakar, “so that … we have food lined up, that we’re prepared. And in fact, the food is there, we just need to have the money to be able to buy it and distribute it to people in need.”
The agency has contingency plans which include reducing rations, Bryant says, but officials are appealing to donors to act now to prevent the situation from becoming a famine.
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“At that point, a lot of lives have already been lost,” she said, “and the other thing is it costs a lot more, financially, to react to … a famine, than to try to avoid one.”
Nigeria is one of four nations on the brink of famine. Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia are also facing dire hunger, in what U.N. officials say is the largest humanitarian crisis since the international body’s creation.
The insecurity and mass displacement caused by the now seven-year Boko Haram conflict in northeastern Nigeria has brought farming to a near halt. Some parts of Borno state have been off-limits to aid workers due to fighting.
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The Nigerian government’s chief humanitarian coordinator, Dr. Ayoade Alakija, told VOA that this is not just a threat to Africa’s most populous nation. It is also a threat to millions of families in Chad, Niger and Cameroon who rely on Nigerian agriculture.
“Because these people would farm, and they would farm their millet and their maize and their beans — and it would be exported to those other countries and that was how they got their livelihoods. But also, that is how those countries got their food,” Alakija said.
In an op-ed published Friday in the French newspaper Le Monde, the U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria warned that a suspension of relief efforts in northeastern Nigeria could render the area more vulnerable to the spread of extremism. (VOA)