News release

Nigeria: Safety and lack of food worry families who returned home

Abuja - Thousands of families are on the move in northeast Nigeria heading to remote locations. Some are going back home following camp closure in Maiduguri. Others are fleeing areas affected by the conflict. As a result of these movements of population, living conditions are very difficult with many lacking water, food and shelter and fearing for their safety.

"We left Bakassi camp in Maiduguri after it closed late last year and returned to our home in Gwoza. Many are in the same situation or are fleeing the bush for safety", said Jummai Mohammad, mother of ten. "We get food and firewood in the bush, but we are afraid that armed men take us, kill us, rape us, so we don't go. We struggle to provide for our families."

"I decided to come back to my home in Gwoza. I found it burnt and destroyed", said Musa Hamman, farmer. "I resumed farming, but I have limited access to my fields due to security constraints. Armed men have been looting my crops. Even if we could farm normally, with the number of people returning, we wouldn't have enough to feed everybody."

Since January, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Nigerian Red Cross, have been providing essential household items, such as sleeping mats, buckets and blankets to nearly 20,000 people across northeast Nigeria, including 4,170 in Gwoza this month alone. "The situation of these families is alarming, as they are already unable to provide for themselves", said Yann Bonzon, ICRC head of delegation in Nigeria. "We call on all parties to the conflict to protect human life and dignity and to facilitate humanitarian aid to reach those in need."

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.

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

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