The Nigerian Army has warned that the influx of Nigerian refugees returning from Cameroon to Bama could create unmanageable humanitarian crisis in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in the Borno town of North East Nigeria.
The Commander, 21 Brigade of Nigerian Army Bama, Col. Adamu Laka, gave this warning on Monday after receiving relief materials from the National Refugees Commission, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
Concerned by the development, Kaka urged the Federal Government, stakeholders and humanitarian agencies to forestall a crisis situation.
He lamented that in the last one week, the repatriation of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon has overstretched Banki, a neighbouring Nigerian town with Cameroon in Bama local government area of Borno.
According to him, the existing internally displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Bama is already overstretched with repatriated Nigerian refugees from Cameroon. He said 1,000 refugees came in into Banki and just on Sunday 150 returned to the country.
The Brigade Commander further warned that the equilibrium of Bama would be destroyed should expected 50,000 refugees make an entrance on the town.
He said: “The situation in Bama has improved, we are only having problem of new arrivals. Last week the existing IDPs’ camp in Banki received 1,000 refugees from Cameroon, just yesterday, we received additional 150 of them and as I am talking now, about 50,000 more refugees from Cameroon are expected to enter Bama in few days.
“Challenges to tackle before the arrival of the refugees include food, shelter, health care, and more importantly clothing. Some IDPs have been here for the past one year with one cloth. We have made contacts with humanitarian agencies and the state government to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand.”
Responding, the Federal commissioner, National Refugees Commission, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, said the food items brought are part of the commission’s way of meeting the needs of the IDPs, adding that more help will come when the Nigerian Refugees from Cameroon finally arrive.
Farouq, who was represented by the Assistant Director, IDPs, NRCMI, Musa Mohammed Kangiwa commended the Nigerian Army for degrading Boko Haram in Borno and Northeast.
“The Bama we saw in February is different from the Bama we are seeing now. Most of the destroyed structureshave been rebuilt, thus an indication that the May 29th date for the return of the IDPs to their ancestral homes is realizable,” she said.
She added that items donated by the Commission to the Bama IDPs include 250 bags of rice.