The United Nations in Nigeria held a solemn ceremony in Abuja to honor victims of a terrorist attack on UN facilities ten years ago.
The event, which occurred on August 26, 2011, resulted in the deaths of 23 UN officials and civilians, as well as the injuries of over 60 others.
On Friday, August 26, 2011, what began as a routine working day at the UN House rapidly turned into a disaster when a suicide vehicle bomber drove into the building and detonated a huge blast, destroying the lower floors and killing 26 people, 23 of them were UN workers. Three employees of the World Health Organization (WHO) have died: Dr. Edward Dede, Mr. Yemi Osunsanya, and Engineer Musa Ali.
To that aim, UN personnel gathered to recall, reflect on, and remember those who died while trying to save humanity.
“This is indeed a dark day for the UN here in Abuja. Somehow, I have derived strength in our promise to the departed that we would refuse to be cowed by violence; remain defiant against terror and recommit ourselves to supporting the Nigerian people to fulfill their dreams of a future of prosperity, peace, and security” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon.
He further said that “As a UN family, we stand united to say that we will not be deterred and that UN mandates will not be derailed, especially in the face of threats and grave humanitarian circumstances faced by UN workers across the country,”.
Meanwhile, Zulaiha Ahmed, Executive Secretary (ES) FCDA, speaking on behalf of the Minister of the FCT, paid respect to the deceased and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensure the continuation of humanitarian and development efforts in the FCT.
“On behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I pledge continuous support of the FCT minister for humanitarian activities across the FCT. It is indeed a sad day as we remember the souls that departed, may they continue to rest in perfect peace.”
In his tribute to the impacted workers and condolences to the families of the deceased, WHO Nigeria Country Representative Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo emphasized WHO’s commitment to assisting the afflicted families. “It is unfortunate that an incident like this happened, but we cannot question the Almighty on doing so. However, I want you to take us, WHO as family, and do not hesitate to reach out whenever there is need, we will be more than happy to step in and assist”, he continues.
Family members and government leaders laid wreaths at the end of the ceremony.
Families of the deceased, the UN Resident Coordinator, representatives of the Federal government, leaders of UN agencies, and members of the UN staff all attended.