Nigeria Red Cross prepares for country's general election

Publié: 28 mars 2015 9:00 CET

By Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, Nigerian Red Cross Society

In preparation for the upcoming general election in Nigeria, the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) is positioning itself as a primary first aid provider across the country. In conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC), the National Society organized a three-day election contingency planning workshop to provide volunteers an opportunity to refresh their life saving skills.

The President of the humanitarian organization, Elder (Chief) Bolaji Akpan Anani, said, “as an emergency organization, we prepare for emergencies in advance. This is one of the major reasons the Nigerian Red Cross is almost always the first to respond. We do this bearing in mind that contingency planning means getting ready for an event that may or may not happen.”

“Since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Nigerians have seen election violence increasing and spreading. The last election in 2011 was particularly more violent than previous ones.  It is imperative that, as a humanitarian organization, we be prepared,” the President further explained.

“In January, we mobilized and conducted refresher training for 40 emergency first aid team leaders and trainers drawn from 20 states. They went on to train about 2,000 volunteers who are now well positioned to offer more effective life-saving support, in all 36 states and Abuja,” said Bello Hamman Diram, Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross. “Our staff and volunteers will be on standby on election day and in the days to come to monitor the process and to offer first aid and other life saving services should the need arise.”

The Secretary General further informed that with the support of the ICRC and IFRC, the National Society has procured more first aid kits, stretchers, safety goggles, hand gloves, nose masks, Red Cross aprons and flags for visibility, and other tools that will make its volunteers’ response more timely and efficient.

The Nigerian Red Cross is also turning to technology to aid in its emergency response. It has developed a first aid App that can be used offline with android and iOS devices. “This application enables users to make quick reference to first aid techniques in times of emergency. It can help anyone quickly administer first aid before medical help is sought. Although not formally launched, the public can access it via or on play store: first aid-Nigerian Red Cross,” the Secretary General further explained.

The National Society’s President had earlier called on all Nigerians to walk the path of peace and eschew violence at all levels. “Violence is an evil wind that will never bring anything good to anyone. The Nigerian Red Cross Society strongly advises Nigerians not to resort to violence to settle political grievances, but to be our brother’s keepers at all times,” urged Bolaji.