ACTED, an international non-governmental organization (iNGO), says it organised shooting training for its staff in Borno state to prepare them for hazards in the line of duty.
In a statement on Sunday, the French organisation said some of its staff have found themselves in “very dangerous situations where their safety and security were severely compromised”.
It was responding to the decision of Babagana Zulum, Borno governor, to suspend their operations in the state after it was found to be organising the shooting training in Maiduguri.
The police began an investigation into the incident while the hotel where the training was being held was sealed.
In the statement, ACTED said it complies with relevant laws in Borno and in Nigerian in carrying out its humanitarian works in the north-east.
“Over the past year, while providing critical humanitarian assistance to the people in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria, our staff and partners have found themselves in very dangerous situations where their safety and security were severely compromised,” it said.
“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.
“Given this fragile context and in compliance with international best practices, 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 trainings and simulation exercises, such as the one held on June 26, in order for them to be prepared to cope with unexpected security incidents.
“These simulation exercises are standard procedures for many NGOs, both in Nigeria and globally 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 uphold principled humanitarian action.”
The organisation added 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.”