The international non-governmental organization, ACTED, has defended the shooting training it organized for its staff in Borno state, saying it was in order order to get them prepared for safety emergencies in the course of their duties.
Over the weekend, Governor Babagana Zulum through his spokeaman, Isa Gusau suspended the operations of the iNGO for organising a shooting training in the state.
Gusau said the French NGO was using toy guns and simulators in training exercises at a hotel in Maiduguri, the state capital, adding that residents had reported to officials that they were hearing sounds of gunshots from the hotel, after which the police were alerted.
In response, ACTED said the shooting practice became necessary 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 statement read.
“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,” it added.
The organization further said it complies with relevant laws in Borno and Nigeria in carrying out its humanitarian works in the northeast, adding that these simulation exercises are standard procedures for many NGOs globally.