I still believe Nigerians can have 3 meals a day – Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki on #HumanRightsDay said, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

Saraki on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 10 December 1964 says, “My thoughts turn to Dr. King’s Nobel Prize speech as we commemorate International Human Rights Day and the terrible atrocities occurring in the world today.

“Only yesterday, the news of the twin bomb blasts in Adamawa shook us with great pain and sadness. My heart cannot but cry out for the families and friends who have lost their loved ones to terror and violence. I send them my sincerest condolences.

“Last week, the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East held three days of public hearings on the situation in that region. The Ad Hoc Committee was created to investigate the diversion of material relief aid meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region.

“After eight (8) years of terror, destruction and displacement mostly in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, it is estimated that some 8.5 million people are in need of urgent assistance. Another 6.9 million people are in need of life saving humanitarian assistance.

“The Committee heard witness testimony about how the success of the Nigerian Army’s efforts to drive Boko Haram from the North East have exposed an unprecedented level of destruction to the physical infrastructure and the economy throughout the region. The Committee also learned from witnesses about the thousands upon thousands of previously unprotected and unassisted IDPs the Nigerian government and international aid agencies are struggling to reach, and to serve in newly liberated areas. The Committee also learned about the extreme stress being placed upon local host communities that have harbored both relatives and strangers alike in their homes and villages. The Committee also learned about the suffering of women and children in and around the IDP camps. Women who lack protection from sexual/gender based violence and who are forcedto trade sex for food by government officials.

“Children threatened with starvation due to the lack of availability of food and food insecurity. Our government cannot handle this crisis alone.

“Conversely, the international aid agencies cannot leverage their resources for greater effectiveness without greater coordination among state agencies. Yet, through it all, the people of the impacted areas of North East Nigeria await peace, security, economic development and a return to normalcy.

“We, the disciples of Dr. King’s inspiring words must put our commitment and faith into action by having the audacity to believe that we can end the insecurity and suffering in the North East.

“In recognition of International Human Rights Day, I for one commit to continue do all that I can as Senate President to help the Federal and State governments and the Ad Hoc Committee to do what it takes to protect the people and rehabilitate the economy of the North East. How about you?” Saraki concluded.

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