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Not A Target: Public Services International (PSI) condemns the killing of Saifura, a health worker in Borno, Nigeria

19 September 2018
PSI condemns the killing by Boko Haram, in Borno state, Nigeria, of 25-year old Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, a registered midwife who worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Saifura along with her colleagues; Hauwa Mohammed Liman, also of ICRC, and Alice Loksha of UNICEF were abducted by the extremist insurgent group.

We call for the immediate release of Hauwa Liman and Alice Loksha. The Federal Government of Nigeria must do everything possible to make sure that both health workers are released immediatly.

Killing or abducting health workers in conflict zones is totally unacceptable. The safety and security of workers delivering much needed emergency services should be respected by all parties. A health worker is #NotATarget.

We appeal to Boko Haram to desist from turning its guns on harmless workers caring for the poor and vulnerable women, children and men who have nowhere else to go, even as a bloody conflict rages around them. It is particularly worrisome that the group targets women.  The state must give safeguards for girls and women in north east Nigeria while empowering them through access to public services.

PSI extends its condolences to the family members of Saifura Khorsa. We wish they find the fortitude to bear this painful loss. We equally extend our solidarity to the ICRC. We shall continue to fight for the safety and security of health workers at the frontlines of conflicts. The sacrifices they make in line of duty merit our deep respect and attention. The right of all workers to work in safety and in dignity must be protected at all times. Saifura was a dedicated worker providing essential health service to women in the displaced community. The Federal Government of Nigeria should take immediate action to bring Saifura’s killers to justice. We need to ensure the immediate release of Hauwa Liman and Alice Loksha and invest all efforts to restore peace and human security in the Northeast. The international community must also revamp its role towards a roadmap for peace and restoration of social services in the region.

For example, since Trump came to power, the USA has withdrawn almost US$200 million in aid to Nigeria – of which $150 million has been withdrawn from health support. In 2017 $446 million went to health, in 2019 it is planned to be $294 million. Nigeria alone cannot be expected to carry the burden for a crisis which is not solely a product of local affairs.

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