The British government has halved the amount of humanitarian aid it gives to Nigeria, while calling on its leaders to do more to tackle extremist group Boko Haram.
The UK will give the African country £200 million (US$257 million) of aid over four years from 2018 to 2022. That amounts to £50 million a year, half the amount given in 2017, and below the £70 million provided in 2016.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Development Secretary Priti Patel have been in Nigeria to assess the UK’s response to the country’s humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram’s insurgency.
“My job isn’t just to give aid and give money, my job is to make sure that money goes further and that we leverage that with the Nigerian government to make them step up and do more,” Patel said, according to the Telegraph.
The UK has been giving funds to the country, where the Boko Haram uprising has to date killed more than 20,000 people, displaced 1.7 million and left 8.5 million in desperate need of urgent support.
In a statement, the international development secretary said: “It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over 5 million people have been left hungry and many homeless.
“Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.
Claiming “Global Britain” will not disregard people “living in danger and desperation,” she called on the Nigerian government to follow Britain’s “lead.”
“Terrorism knows no borders and the Nigerian government must now follow our lead to stop innocent people dying and securing the area so that people can rebuild their lives in safety – reducing the threat of radicalization and migration for the UK at home.”
Despite the decision to cut the amount of aid being sent, Foreign Secretary Johnson said: “This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges.”
One of the deadliest offensives carried out by Boko Haram took place on January 3, 2013, when a multi-day raid in northern Nigeria is feared to have left up to 2,000 dead.
The terrorist group is also infamous for abducting 276 teenage girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Borno, back in 2014. While some managed to escape and others were freed in exchange for Boko Haram militants, more than 100 remain missing.