1 million returnees in Northeast Nigeria need more aid

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Though the number of displaced people returning home in northeast Nigeria continues to increase, with one million returnees since October 2015, nearly two million are still displaced across the region, according to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). The DTM covers the six most conflict-affected states in Nigeria: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.

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Those who return from their locations of displacement often only make it as far as their home area, not to their houses or villages – many of which have been razed as a consequence of the Boko Haram conflict, now in its eighth year.

After living in a displacement camp in Maiduguri for 13 months, Yakaka and her husband Mohammed Kaka made it as close as seven kilometres to their home, when they returned last October. “We can’t even think of going home,” said Mohammed. “I went to see our village, but our house was completely burned down. I wasn’t happy about what I saw or how it made me feel.” They now live in another camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dikwa, Borno.

Mohammed added he also fears returning to his village because of ongoing insecurity. Boko Haram’s terror and violence has caused 97 per cent of the displacement in northeastern Nigeria; 2.6 million people are displaced or living as refugees across Nigeria’s northeast, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, largely due to the conflict.

“The world largely overlooked the crisis impacting north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in 2016,” notes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “Violent conflict and human suffering have marked Nigeria and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon for the better part of a decade.”

Ambassador Swing, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger and IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic are today (24/2) attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in Norway.

Representatives from the governments of Germany, Norway, Nigeria, ministers from the affected countries, other UN agencies, civil society partners, and donors will take part in the conference, which aims to chart the way forward in the region.

IOM Nigeria is seeking USD 58 million to support IDPs, returnees, and other affected populations this year through interventions including non-food aid items, shelter construction, building and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (boreholes, showers and toilets) at camps, and the provision of mental health and psychosocial support.

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