Hope rising as 3,000 IDPs return to Bama

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Bama IDPs

The Nigerian Government has facilitated the return of no fewer than 3,000 Internally Displaced People of Bama origin in Borno to their hometown. This was disclosed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in a recent report. The relocation followed the reopening of the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki road on March 24 by the Nigerian Military after four years of its closure due to the insurgency.The road, which runs from Maiduguri through Konduga, Bama, Gwoza and connects to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon and Chad, was shut to commercial and public traffic in September 2014.

According to the IOM, “Following the reopening of the road, about 3,000 IDPs of Bama origin at Dalori I and II Camps in Maiduguri were relocated to Bama town by the Government of Nigeria, on April 2, 2018.” The report noted that humanitarian assistance will have to be scaled up to meet the needs of the population which has increased significantly due to the influx, with more returnees expected in the coming weeks.The UN migration agency said Bama Local Government Area (LGA) had an IDP population of 49,139 individuals from 14,064 households as per the Displacement Tracking Matrix Round XXI.

Bama is the LGA of origin for the largest number of 203,374 of displaced persons in Borno and neighbouring states. Most of the original population in the area were displaced to other locations due to insecurity and inaccessibility.Prior to the recent population return to Bama, over 95 per cent of the remaining people in the LGA resided in Banki Camp with 33,081 individuals and Government Secondary School Camp with 16,058 individuals.The government has rehabilitated some communities in Shehuri and Kasugula wards of Bama, and IDPs are being assisted to return to these rehabilitated areas.

The UN agency noted that the activities of the Federal Government are being carried out mainly through the State Emergency Management Agency and Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation. Government agencies have trucked food items, non-food items, tricycles, small power generators and other logistical items to Bama, with the aim of encouraging people to return to the area. Traffic along the road has increased significantly, with flows involving people travelling to Bama for business, individuals visiting to ascertain the safety situation and status of their properties.And many are returning to their homes due to the improved access. It is estimated that about 4,100 people have moved along the newly opened road since March 24th”.

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