The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, on Thursday warned against force eviction and arbitrary closure of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north eastern of Nigeria.
He also called for safe and voluntary return of IDPs to their various communities in line with the Kampala Convention,which emphasizes on voluntary return to safe areas and with dignity.
“I would like to urge the authorities to ensure returns ofpeople to their homes are safe and voluntary, well-informed based on up-to-date and accurate information on their homes of origin, and respect people’s dignity,”Kallon told journalists at a breakfast meeting in Abuja.
“We cannot force people to go back when there is nothing forthem;there should be no forced return.“There should be no arbitrary closure of camps without guarantees of safety, access to basic services, critical infrastructure and humanitarian assistance,” he said.
He said he was recently in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where he saw people scouting around with nothing to eat, no basic social services, and schools were not functioning with health centres displaced.
He said these were people chased out of their basic homes and now trying to return but could not even reach their land because of pockets of insecurity.
The UNDP official emphasised on the need for effective reintegration programmes for women, men, girls and boys previously held by Boko Haram.
He said infrastructure rebuilding and livelihood support needed to run in parallel with social and psychosocial reintegration programmes to effectively rebuild communities.
“The rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure like schools, hospitals, government administration blocks, among others, will significantly improve the normalization of life innewly-accessible areas,” he said.
He said there was need to scale the response in providing durable solutions to the crisis.This, he said, should include provision of immediate employment for vulnerable, improving skills and access to longer term livelihoods opportunities, construction of permanent shelters/houses and reconstruction of key public infrastructure.
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