Norwegian agency says IDPs’ return fuelling tension in North East
UNDP unfolds integrated package for refugees
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has said that the return of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) to the North-East following their displacement by insurgents has fuelled tension in the region.
The NRC Country Director, Cheick Ba, who stated that the North-East was not prepared for people coming back, said: “We are seeing tension rising in the communities. People often return to discover their houses are occupied and they don’t have the means to rebuild. They find themselves displaced once again.”
A statement issued yesterday in Abuja said: “They are left homeless and extremely vulnerable on top of the tension created between them and the new occupants of their homes. The ground is simply not set for this scale of return.
“Families moving back often find their homes occupied by other families.
The NRC director, who expressed concern that people are returning to areas that lack basic services such as water, sanitation, housing and infrastructure, gave an instance of Damasak town where 180,000 people have returned since the end of 2016 and majority of them do not have the resources or capacity to restart agriculture activities.
He said despite that 90 per cent were farmers before they fled in 2014, when NRC visited the town in April, all local infrastructure that existed before the crisis - roads, water networks and farming land - were largely destroyed.
He, therefore, stressed the need for the affected state governments to urgently strengthen the mechanisms to resolve land and property disputes caused by people returning, maintaining that with rainy season due to start in July, farmers need access to land to grow food in the months ahead.
In another development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), yesterday, unfolded an integrated community stabilisation package for 1.8 million displaced persons in the North-East sub-region affected by Boko Haram insurgency.
The stabilisation package was contained in the agency’s recent report released at the weekend in Maiduguri by the UNDP Regional Co-ordinator, Joerg Kuehnel.
He said that the community package would tackle acute recovery needs of the displaced persons in camps and host-communities.