Maiduguri, 12 April – The Nigeria INGO Forum cautioned today that international NGOs operating in north-east Nigeria would not be able to address a sharp increase in humanitarian needs in Bama that may occur as a result of the relocation of civilians currently being carried out by the Nigerian authorities.
“Members of the INGO Forum who work in Maiduguri and Bama have raised concerns that currently there are insufficient services and supplies – including food, water, and health services — available in Bama to meet the basic needs of the thousands of people that the government says will be relocated there from Maiduguri,” said Jennifer Jalovec, Director of the INGO Forum.
The Borno State government recently announced that they would relocate up to 120,000 civilians from Maiduguri to Bama, and humanitarians working in Bama indicate that approximately 3,700 people have arrived there on government-organised transport as of 2 April.
“If the Nigerian authorities aren’t yet ready to provide the basic services necessary to meet all of these people’s needs, we are very concerned about the situation in which civilians in Bama will find themselves, including the IDPs who are already present in a camp in Bama and who cannot yet return to their homes in nearby villages.
“Our members are also worried that any sudden demand for more aid to Bama would be impossible to meet without having to shift ongoing humanitarian aid from other locations where there are severe humanitarian needs.” said Jalovec.
According to the Kampala Convention of which Nigeria is a signatory, States Parties must guarantee the freedom of movement and choice of residence of internally displaced people, and enable them to make a free and informed choice on whether to return, integrate locally or relocate, including through their consultation and participation. States must take measures to ensure that they live in conditions of safety, dignity and security, and are protected from forcible return or resettlement.
“International NGOs are keenly aware that many IDPs wish to return home, and we remain ready to take part in planning led by the government for how those returns can be managed with dignity and with the appropriate conditions in place.”