Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) at their camp in Maiduguri. NAN

The Norwegian Refugee Council says 1.8 million persons displaced by Boko Haram insurgency are unwilling to return to their communities.

The Secretary-General of the Council, Jan Egeland, made this known while presenting the report on situation of Internally Displaced Persons in Maiduguri.

The report, titled “Not Ready to Return”, was compiled in collaboration with Danish Refugee Council and Protection Cluster Nigeria.

He said the IDPs were still concerned about security in their communities, reconstructing their destroyed homes and finding means of livelihood when they return home.

Egeland said 3,400 households were interviewed during the study at various IDP camps and host communities in 12 local government areas of Borno.

He explained that the study indicated that more than 80 percent of those interviewed were unwilling to return home in the immediate future due to security concerns.

Egeland said, “The findings of the report are indisputable, when 86 percent of people tell us they are not ready to go home yet, we must listen, and this cannot fall on deaf ears.

“Today, I met a woman in Monguno, who fled her village two years ago after Boko Haram set it ablaze. She is eager to bring her six children home, but she told me it is too soon, that the armed group are still present.

“People must decide to return of their own free will, coercing communities to move home is a deadly recipe set to worsen the conflict.

“While the end game is for communities to return home, the unfortunate truth is that pushing people back now will have harmful consequences.

“An overwhelming 85 percent of people living in formal camps tell us they feel safer there than where they were before, despite the deplorable attacks on camps.”

He added, “Even, if the security situation improves, half of the displaced persons interviewed say their houses were destroyed in the conflict.”

Egeland noted that while the military gained successes in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents, the armed group resorted to attacks on soft targets, including markets and sites sheltering displaced persons.