1,200 People Displaced By Boko Haram Return Home

FILE PHOTO

 

At least 1,200 of the more than 100,000 people displaced by Boko Haram violence in Nigeria’s northeastern town of Bama have returned, officials and returnees said Thursday. 

Bama, a major trading hub on the road to Cameroon and home to 270,000 people, was captured in September 2014, forcing residents to flee to Maiduguri, the state capital.

Borno state information commissioner Mohammed Bulama told AFP the returnees are male residents coming back after the town was partly re-built.

“We have transported 1,200 persons to Bama in two batches on Monday and today (Thursday) as part of the phased return of residents that fled after Boko Haram invaded the town in 2014,” he said.

“We intend to gradually return over 100,000 people to Bama in coming months as part of the reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs (internally displaced persons) by the Borno state government,” he said.

One of the returnees, Umar Bukar, said they were screened and issued with a badge before being taken in trucks to the town under security escort.

Each returnee was given a bag of rice, a bag of millet with 10,000 naira ($27.70) to “start a new life,” said Bukar who spoke to AFP on the phone from the town.

He added that the male returnees would wait to see if the security situation has improved before bringing their families from Maiduguri.

The Boko Haram insurgency which broke out in 2009, has killed at least 20,000 and displaced more than 2.6 million, forcing them into camps and host communities.

By the time Bama was retaken by Nigerian troops in March 2015, 85 percent of the town had been destroyed by the Islamists.

State officials said it would require 40 billion naira (94 million euros, $111 million) to rebuild the town, a staggering amount in the impoverished region.

Abba Jato Mohammed, chairman of the state relocation committee told reporters last month some 11,000 houses had been reconstructed in Bama.

‘Security still a concern’ 

Bukar said only one-third of the town has since been rebuilt, but displaced residents said they were ready to return to rebuild their homes.

“We are ever willing to return to Bama and rebuild our homes on our own if the government allows us,” resident Mohammed Kassim told AFP.

“Given the pace of the reconstruction work it will take years to rebuild every home and we can’t wait that long,” he said.

The desire to return to their homes may be due to squalid conditions in camps where they rely on insufficient food handouts from donor agencies.

“Life in the camps is difficult, with little food, water and limited toilets. None of us would stay if we had a choice”, said another Bama displaced person, Kulo Gana.

In September last year, 3,000 displaced people hit the streets in Maiduguri to protest over food shortages and poor living conditions in the camps, demanding they be allowed to return home.

The previous month a cholera outbreak in the camps from a water shortage and poor sanitation killed around 50 people, mainly children.

The returnees, however, said they are still worried about possible Boko Haram attacks, especially after recent deadly attacks near Maiduguri.

“Security is still a source of concern to us which is why we all left our families back in Maiduguri for now,” Bukar said.

“We will wait until we assess the security situation before we decide if it is safe for them to join us.”

AFP

Hurricane Matthew: Thousands Of Haitians Displaced

Haiti, Hurricane Matthew, Cuba, Bahamas, UNICEF
UNICEF says Haiti is facing the largest humanitarian event since the 2010 earthquake

As Haiti begins to count its losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, rescue workers are struggling to reach parts of the country cut off by the deadly tropical storm.

Officials say the destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew has forced Haiti’s Presidential election scheduled for this weekend to be postponed.

Thousands of people have been displaced and at least 10 people have died. The storm knocked down communications and blocked roads, hindering emergency efforts.

The United Nations Children’s Fund says Haiti is facing the “largest humanitarian event” since the 2010 earthquake that hit the impoverish country.

It also warned that more than four million children could be affected in the aftermath of the hurricane damage, warning of a likely spread of waterborne diseases.

The hurricane which has been downgraded to a category three hurricane, may likely hit the US East Coast in coming days.

The storm has now moved off the North-Eastern coast of Cuba towards Florida, where warnings are in place.

South Carolina is to start evacuating more than a million people.

It is also nearing the Bahamas.

UN To Relocate Humanitarian Centre To Borno

united nationsThe United Nations is stepping up its efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria.

The international body has announced plans to relocate its Humanitarian Coordination Centre to Maiduguri to achieve more effective response to the challenges created by Boko Haram insurgency in the region.

After a humanitarian situation assessment visit to Borno State, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura, said that the move would also enable the organisation have direct access to affected areas.

She added that relocating the coordination centre from Abuja to Maiduguri had become necessary considering the condition at the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps and communities hosting them.

“I have decided that the centre of coordination be moved from Abuja to Maiduguri and UN senior staff will be deployed accordingly.

“In the weeks to come, seasoned and top-notch staff will be deployed to really cater for the needs of the IDPs and the host communities.

“This is in order to scale-up support and enhance coordination of our humanitarian response in the light of the significant challenge that the crisis presents.

“This will also ensure that they are closer to the IDPs, emergency management bodies and the state authorities,” she said.

Ms Samoura lamented the situation at the IDPs camps and urged development and humanitarian actors to do more to support the Borno government’s efforts.

According to the UN coordinator, nearly 15 million civilians have been affected by insurgency in the region, resulting in over 2.2 million people being displaced most of whom are in Borno State, totalling about two million IDPs.

Samoura said that the UN would continue to support the government of Nigeria to provide humanitarian assistance to survivors, especially vulnerable women and girls and also to reach those in dire need.

US Providing Over $240m In Development Assistance In Northeast Nigeria

idpsThe United States says it is currently providing over $240M in development and humanitarian assistance through comprehensive programs in north eastern Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad Basin region.

This is according to the Director of the United States International Agency For Development (USAID) Mission in Nigeria, Michael Harvey, who is in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, on an assessment tour.

He said the tour was to obtain first-hand information on the spending of sister donor agencies operating in war-torn northeast Nigeria and funded by USAID.

The insurgency problem in northeast Nigeria has forced millions of citizens out of their homes with school-age kids kept out of their classes, a situation that had made the USAID intensify its intervention programmes in the affected areas.

The Director of the USAID said the intervention programmes were targeted at Internally Displaced Persons in Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe States.

USAID believes the task of addressing the many issues families in the displaced people’s camps as well as those in the host community are dealing with is overwhelming.

The victims of insurgency in Bakassi, originally from Gwoza Local Council in Borno State are the first to host the team.

They complained of poor living conditions and feeding, which they said had led to malnutrition and other illnesses.

“We need water and drugs and the weather is very harsh here because there are no trees. The sun disturbs us a lot,” one of the displaced persons, Hauwa Bello, told the group.

Part of the intervention plans of the USAID is to identify and empower displaced families preparing them for their return home.

The USAID also encouraged informal community schools assuring them of its willingness to partner with relevant authorities to give as many kids as possible unlimited access to education.

The region had seen over six years of insurgency and terror attacks mostly carried out by members of Boko Haram terrorist group.

Military Reiterates Capability To Defeat Boko Haram

Boko Haram terrorists in northeast NigeriaNigerian military on Friday said it is capable of defeating Boko Haram insurgents terrorising communities in the nation’s northeast.

The Defence Headquarters made the statement in response to a story it said was published by some newspapers  entitled, ‘why military can’t defeat Boko Haram’.

It denied claims that the comment was made by the military high command, saying “it is purely and unreservedly misleading and can best be described as a figment of press imagination”.

Inappropriate And Misleading

A statement by the Defence Headquarters spokesman, Rabe Abubakar, said the story, which claimed that Service Chiefs decried inadequate equipment and non-release of 2015 military votes as the reason of continued insurgency, was equally “scurrilous and calculated to diminish the armed forces”.

“The story is false and far from what happened when the service chiefs visited the leadership of the senate.

“But for avoidance of doubt, the visit of the military leadership to the Senate President was purely a closed-door meeting aimed at intimating the Senate about the level of successes recorded in the onslaught against Boko Haram and to assure the National Assembly and all Nigerians that the military is winning and will soon see the end of this menace called Boko Haram,” the statement read.

The military said the newspapers’ captions were inappropriate and misleading designed to further confuse the general public about the situation in the North East region.

The Defence Headquarters further sought the support of the public in the fight against insurgents and appealed to the media to eschew any report capable of inciting or encouraging the terrorists to continue their terror attacks on innocent, law-abiding citizens.

It assured the media that it would always give all necessary pieces of information to the general public and urged the media to always verify the sources of story, especially in matters that touch on national security and defence.

The military’ statement is coming few days after an attack on Dalori village in Borno State, suspected to have been carried out by Boko Haram terrorists, left over 60 persons dead and over 60 others injured.

Most of those affected were fleeing women and children who ran into suicide bombers in a nearby village, an official of the National Emergency Management Agency said.

Earlier on Sunday, the State Emergency Management Agency’s Zonal Coordinator, Mr  Mohammed Kanar, told Channels Television that the death toll could rise, as other rescue organisations were involved in providing aid to the victims.

North-East Commission Bill Passes Second Reading In House Of Reps

House-of-Representatives-Nigeria on north-east development CommissionA bill calling for the establishment of a North-East Development Commission has passed second reading in the House of Representatives in Nigeria.

The commission, if established, would manage funds for the rehabilitation of the north-eastern part of Nigeria ravaged by insurgency.

The bill, which is sponsored by the speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, will receive and manage the funds from the Federation Account and international donors for the settlement of victims of insurgency.

It will also take care of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and businesses in the north-east region.

The motion was unanimously supported by lawmakers in the House, who said the commission would help the region just as the Niger Delta Development Commission had helped the Niger Delta region.

Communities in the north-east have been devastated by Boko Haram pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to western education in the region.

Over 1.5 million persons have been displaced from the north-east region, according to the United Nations High Commission For Refugees.

IDPs Get Stanel Oil’s Relief Items

idps-Borno

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in a camp in Jos, Plateau State, have received relief materials comprising of medical equipment, bedding, clothing, cooking materials and books from  Stanel Oil.

The materials were given to the IDPs as part of the companies social responsibility to its community.

The Chief Executive Officer of Stanel Oil, Stanley Uzochukwu, while donating the various relief materials to the displaced persons in Zang Commercial School camp, urged them not to lose hope of returning to their ancestral homes and to remain steadfast even as they look forward to returning to their homes.

The staff and management of the organisation also took time to interact with the displaced persons, believing that the public and private sectors needed to do more in assisting the displaced persons.

The Zang commercial school camp for the IDPs from Borno, Adamawa, Yobe States and parts of Plateau was established in 2014 to cater for those displaced by insurgents in the north eastern part of Nigeria. Over 4,000 persons are registered in the camp.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has recently directed the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs to fast track the process of re-uniting the IDPs across the nation with their families.

Over 2000 Bakassi Refugees Ask To Be Resettled In Ancestral Home

Over 2000 Nigerians who previously lived in Bakassi Peninsula and were forcefully ejected by Cameroonian security agents on 7th March 2013 have appealed to the Federal Government to relocate them to their ancestral home.

The displaced persons decried the deplorable state they live in as they have no shelter and so are forced to sleep in a school.

One of the displaced persons, Mary Effiong described the situation as ‘hard’.

“Life is hard, life is so hard. Even when the government is trying, we cannot meet up again in life. We are suffering, our children are really suffering

What we really need is for the government to really support us and our children and we want to go back to where we came from,” she added in tears.

The camp leader, Etim Okon credited the Cross River state government for her efforts in ensuring that they are provided with food.

However, he said that food is not what they need but proper resettlement in their ancestral home.

A member of the Presidential Committee on displaced persons, Abba Moro, assured the people that the committee is doing its best to ensure that the displaced persons are resettled soon.

10,000 Persons Displaced In Kaduna Gunmen Attack

The displaced  people of Fadan Attakar community in Kaura local government area of Kaduna State  have appealed to the Kaduna State government to help them  get over the shock from last Saturday’s attack on the village by unknown gunmen.

The attack has displaced about 10,000 indigenes of the community who are scared of going back to their homes.

The paramount ruler of the community condemned the attack saying members of the community have lived peacefully with their neighbours over the years.

With their houses completely razed down, the villagers have become refugees in their own land.


Expressing sadness over what he called ‘man’s wickedness to his fellow man’, Governor Muktar Ramalan Yero who cut short his trip outside the country to visit the displaced persons and those in the hospital described the attack as uncalled for.

Although government has promised to assist the victims to get back on their feet and do everything possible to avert a re-occurrence of such incident, the people are demanding that an urgent arrangement be made for their immediate return and rehabilitation as condition for normalcy in the affected areas.