Nigeria government has said it plans to evacuate 78,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back home from Cameroon.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported on Sunday April 9, that the affected IDPs fled to Cameroon at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency in the state. According to the report, the IDPs had a week ago urged the state government to facilitate their return home or they will trek back to Nigeria.
Ahmad Satome, Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, told journalists in Maiduguri that government plans to shelter the returnees in four temporary satellite camps.
“The issue of the 78,000 Nigerian IDPs is purely a repatriation process, it is just to get them across the Cameroonian border back home. Once they are back we will get them transported to transit camps in Kumshe, Gulumba, Ngoshe and Kirawa where they will feed for a week or thereabout, so they can stabilize before asking them where they want to go,” he said.
Satome said that IDPs without any place to go would be kept in the camps while those who wanted to return home would be transported home.
“IDPs without homes or those whose communities are unsafe will be kept in the camps while those who want to return home will be transported home.
“But for those who wished to remain in Cameroon they will be allowed to stay in accordance with the Geneva Convention,” he said.
Satome said government was focused on ensuring early return of all IDPs back to their communities especially those in areas liberated by the military.
“It is true that government is resolute in ensuring all IDPs return home in a dignified manner in accordance to the Kampala convention. But sometimes, a lot of uncertainties come in,” he said.
He said the continued rescue of persons by the military from terrorist enclaves had created new IDPs requiring attention.
“The intense pressure by the military on Boko Haram enclaves have led to rescue of new IDPs requiring care. This means that they have to be kept in camps for care and other humanitarian services,” he said.
Satome however said that government was resolute in moving IDPs who were interested in going back to camps close to their homes.