By G9ija

The French international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO), ACTED has said that it organized a shooting training for its staff in Borno state in order to get them prepared for safety emergencies they may encounter in the course of executing their duties.

In a statement on Sunday, the organization said the shooting practice put together for its staff became imperative because over the past year while providing critical humanitarian assistance to the people in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria, staff of ACTED and its partners have found themselves in very dangerous situations where their safety and security were severely compromised.

“In May 2020, an ACTED contractor was abducted between MaiduguriMonguno road, and tragically killed while in service; in March 2021, ACTED staff faced imminent danger during an attack while providing humanitarian assistance in Dikwa; in April, the ACTED office and warehouse in Damasak were attacked by armed groups, and large stocks of humanitarian supplies meant for the people in need were destroyed,” the organization disclosed in its attempt to create context.

Speaking further about the shooting practice, the iNGO said “ACTED must exercise its duty of care for staff, and make every effort to ensure the safety and security of its staff.

“This includes regularly organizing training and simulation exercises, such as the one held on June 26, in order for them to be prepared to cope with unexpected security incidents”.

ACTED said it complies with relevant laws in Borno and in Nigerian in carrying out its humanitarian works in the northeast, adding that these simulation exercises are standard procedures for many NGOs globally.

The organization further held that and in no way, neither during those exercises nor during the delivery of assistance, does ACTED carry weapons, in line with international standards and its dedication to upholding principled humanitarian action.

This response from ACTED is in reaction to the decision of Babagana Zulum, Borno Governor, to suspend its operations in the state after it was found to be organizing a shooting training in the capital, Maiduguri.

Following the incident, an investigation was launched while the hotel where the training held was sealed.

In further pleading their case, ACTED stated that it remains committed to cooperating with the Nigerian authorities as well as ensuring “the highest levels of transparency towards the authorities and the people we serve.”

The iNGO also presented its compliments to the Governor of Borno, His Excellency Prof. Babagana Zulum, noting that his leadership and guidance to the humanitarian community and particularly to ACTED, in providing support for the successful implementation of humanitarian activities in the Northeast over the past years, are highly appreciated.

The group said it relies on the support of the Nigerian Government and all its departments at both Federal and State levels, to facilitate the humanitarian assistance they are providing to the Nigerian people in line with humanitarian principles and government priorities.