The federal government on Friday said it has closed down most of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Yobe and Adamawa States.
The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammad Sani Sidi made the disclosure while addressing a Press Conference to mark this year’s World Humanitarian Day in Abuja on Friday.
“We have camps in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states but as we mark this day, I want to tell you that most of the camps have been closed down”, Mr. Sidi said.
According to the NEMA boss, 12 camps in Adamawa have been closed while six of the seven in Yobe have been shut down as displaced persons have started returning home voluntarily following the liberation of their communities by the military and the establishment of state structures.
“Most of the remaining camps are in Maiduguri and over 1million of the IDPs in Nigeria are from Borno state alone.
“We have 26 formal camps in Maiduguri but displaced persons in the camps in other states are voluntarily going back home. I can tell you that almost 40% of the camps have been closed”,
He, however, added that there were still some 80,000, 26,000 and 55,000 Nigerians in refugee camps in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic respectively.
While pointing out that Nigeria has been offering assistance to the refugees in the neighbouring countries, Sidi said the federal government was in discussion with the United Nations and the Governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger to ensure a voluntary return of the refugees.
“We don’t want to remove them from one camp to the other, hence we need to complete the rehabilitation of their communities before we encourage them to return”.
The NEMA boss, who said the humanitarian challenges in the Northeast were overwhelming, assured that the government in partnership with development bodies, will continue to do its best to cater for all humanitarian challenges of IDPs.
He also paid tributes to those who died on humanitarian duties in the Northeast, pointing out that five NEMA staff were killed after a bomb attack on a camp in Yola, the Adamawa State capital on September 11, 2015 while a UN convoy was attacked on their way from Bama, Borno State last month.
While responding to questions on the compensation packages for families of staff, who died in the line of duty, Mr. Sidi said “no compensation to pay for one’s life, the tribute we are paying today is a recognition of their efforts”.
“This [tribute] is bigger than any millions and all over the world; no compensation is paid to families of humanitarian workers”.