Diplomatic breach on UN: Borno Gov Settles Uproar, Humanitarian Workers Resume
Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima on Friday afternoon convened an emergency meeting of the State Security Council which was attended by heads of the General Officer Commanding the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, the State Commissioner of Police, the State Director of DSS and the United Nations Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr.Peter Lundberg following which diplomatic concerns were settled with agencies of UN likely to resume humanitarian activities Saturday (today) after announcing suspension on Friday.
The meeting arose following a late night cordon and search on the biggest premises of UN agencies in Maiduguri by soldiers as part of what the military later described as “a week long search operations for fleeing Boko Haram terrorists conducted on 30 houses in different areas, one of which included a property occupied by the UN around Pompamari”. The searched raised concerns amongst members of the international community with the UN directing it’s humanitarian workers operating in Borno State to remain indoors.
In a statement emailed to journalists on Saturday morning, Shettima’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said given the critical intervention humanitarian workers have making in the affairs of internally displaced persons, Governor Kashim Shettima was worried and had to place a phone call with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed. In ther conversation, Shettima reassured the DSG of his government’s commitment to safeguarding humanitarian workers and ensuring that international protocol was restored by all security agencies.
The Governor then convened an emergency security Council which in addition to heads of security establishments, was attended by the Deputy Governor of the State, Secretary to the Borno Government and the attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.
At the meeting both the military and the UN officials discussed their areas of concerns with Governor Shettima making sure the UN was fully reassured of diplomatic protection and protocol.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that as a sign of good faith, all members of the State Security Council that include Governor Shettima and heads of military and other security establishments jointly pay a visit to the UN property involved in the military “cordon and search” on Friday in order to deepen relationship and to send a message of synergy to rebuild public confidence on humanitarian workers at the UN rented property and those operating in other parts of the State.
The meeting took measures to forestall repeat of Friday’s incident in line with international diplomatic protocol which confers diplomatic privilege on UN premises all over the world. The meeting agreed to deepen relationship between security agencies and international partners operating in Borno State for the good of residents.
Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy
Government House, Maiduguri.
Saturday, August 12, 2017.