Majority of the 1.8 million internally displaced persons in Borno State said they are still scared of going back to their communities months after the military liberated them from Boko Haram control, a new study by the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, reveals.
Tagged “Too Scared to Return”, the report says its findings “are undisputable”.
“When 86 per cent of people tell us they aren’t ready to go home yet, we must listen. This cannot fall on deaf ears,” warned Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General, who is currently visiting Nigeria.
“People must decide to return of their own free will. Coercing communities to move home is a deadly recipe set to worsen the conflict.”
The report comes at a time when about a dozen persons from Bama Local Government Area, one of the largest communities displaced by Boko Haram, are being held in prison custody as they face trial for leading IDPs to stage a street protest asking government to allow them return home.
The NRC said it sought the opinion of 27,000 people in the research which it said was one of “the largest pieces of research carried out on the displaced population.”
Mr. Egeland said “60 per cent of people who are unwilling to return home in the immediate future cite insecurity as the main reason for staying put. Attacks against civilians are on the rise, and communities feel scared.”
“The Nigerian military recently gained ground in the fight against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. In response, the armed group has stepped up attacks on soft targets, including markets and sites sheltering displaced people.”
The report noted that many officials in Nigeria’s government are keen to see communities move back home.
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