Nigeria: safety and access to basic needs preoccupy displaced families willing to return home

31 January 2022
Nigeria: safety and access to basic needs preoccupy displaced families willing to return home
Children are severely affected by the armed conflict in Nigeria. Photo taken at Gubio camp, Maiduguri. (c) Lucien Christen/ICRC

Abuja: Following the decision to close camps for internally displaced people in Maiduguri, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is closely following the evolution of the situation in Borno State, as additional movement of population could exacerbate vulnerabilities for thousands of families and increase humanitarian needs in the area.

"People who fled armed clashes are extremely vulnerable. Many of them have already been displaced multiple times and have lost their belongings and livelihood," said Gilles Carbonnier, ICRC's Vice-President, on his visit to Maiduguri and Bama. "Our top priority, as it has always been, is to support communities in rebuilding their lives and helping them establish a dignified livelihood. Some families are willing to go back to their homes, but fear for their safety and lack of access to basic services."

ICRC Vice President, Gilles Carbonnier, flanked by Head of Sub-delegation in Maiduguri, Tahmineh Janghorban, and Deputy Regional Director Africa, Mona Sadek, on a visit to Gubio Camp, Maiduguri on January 29, 2022. (c) Lucien Christen/ICRC

The ICRC is preoccupied not to be able to access all areas designated for return due to the volatile security in the region. Together with the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), the ICRC remains fully committed to assisting the displaced and is now focusing on people moving from the closed camps to host communities in the greater Maiduguri area or to accessible outreach locations. We provide the most vulnerable families with nutrition support for the malnourished, distribute essential items, and facilitate access to safe drinking water. We also support communities with sustainable livelihood opportunities and help them trace missing family members.

According to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention) ratified by Nigeria in 2012, states have the primary responsibility to protect and assist displaced people. The ICRC calls on all parties to the conflict to protect human life and dignity.

For interview requests and enquiries please contact
Lucien Christen, Public Relations Officer (English), ICRC Abuja, +234 903 151 5543
Aliyu Dawobe, Public Relations Officer (Hausa & English), ICRC Abuja, +234 802 841 7085