More than 1,000 Nigerian refugees return to homeland

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency says more than 1,000 refugees who fled Boko Haram attacks return to Nigeria this week

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Nigerian women queue to receive humanitarian aid in Yola after fleeing Boko Haram attacks in 2014

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday that more than 1,000 Nigerians, out of the thousands who fled attacks carried out by Boko Haram militant group to Nigeria and neighbouring countries, returned to their homeland this week.

NEMA Spokesman Sani Datti said in a statement that over 15,000 Nigerians are expected to return to their country in the next few weeks.

1,187 Nigerian refugees that had been sheltering across the border in Cameroon resettled in a refugee camp in the northeastern state of Adamawa "as a result of improvement in the security situation," Datti said.

Thousands of Nigerian citizens have crossed back across the border since August believing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to dent Boko Haram’s fighting capacity by the end of the year.

Buhari said earlier this month that the Nigerian government would "do all within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement" of the displaced people.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, pictured on June 14, 2015 [AFP]

Security analysts say that the Nigerian army has been successful in pushing the militants out of seized territory in the country’s northeast and reducing their ability to intensify attacks.

However, deadly raids carried out occasionally on towns and villages in Nigeria continue, as well as in northern Cameroon, southeastern Niger and on the Chadian side of Lake Chad, where all four of these countries connect.

On Sunday, the Nigerian government announced that many of the internally displaced people (IDP), displaced by Boko Haram’s attacks would return back home next year in earnest, amid Boko Haram's continuous sporadic attacks in rural areas.

Despite continued suicide bombing attacks targeting civilians, Nigerian army commanders alongside the government claim that they are on track to reach a year-end deadline to end the Boko Haram’s fighting ability, then begin to resettle about 2.1 million internally displaced people by the group.

Buhari said the resettlement would start "in earnest" in 2016 and his government "will do all within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement" of IDP.

TRTWorld and agencies