The Nigerian Army and camp management officials at the Bakassi IDP camp in Borno State have begun the relocation of thouands of residents of Jakana Town in Konduga Local Government Area to their orginal place of abode.
More than 5,000 residents of Jakana were forcefully ejected from their homes on Monday night, a military source telling SaharaReporters that the evacuation was done in the overall intrest of the villagers because "we have reliable information that they shelter terrorists".
The residents had kicked against the move, and one of them told SaharaReporters: "We are not going to stay here. Why are we being treated like animals in our own country? The Federal Government should call the Army to order.
"They came and said we were harbouring Boko Haram in Jakana but we told them that we did not have any Boko Haram member in our midst. The next thing, they came back with trucks and forced us to come here; this is not acceptable. We were not allowed to come along with any of belonging."
On Thursday, SaharaReporters gathered that the decision to return them to Jakana was made after the larger number of them declined to stay at the IDP camp. "Only less than 600 of the over 5,000 Jakana people stayed back at the camp," a camp source told SaharaReporters.
The Military, though, said the evacuation was being done because operations to flush out the insurgents in the area had been rounded off.
The relocation will commence with the movement of women, children and the other vulnerable groups. Thereafter, men would return to the communities.
Food and non-food items are being mobilised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for distribution to Jakana community to reduce the effect of the disruption of economic activities as a result of the evacuation.
Meanwhile, just before the Army announced its plan to return them home, the United Nations appealed to the Nigerian government to provide humanitarian assistance to all the people forced to flee Borno State in the wake of continued attack by insurgents.
Edward Kallon, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, called on the Nigerian government to "provide humanitarian assistance to and protect up to 10,000 women, men and children, who were forced to relocate to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, from a town 40 kilometers away".
“The entire town of Jakana was emptied, and people were forced to move to Maiduguri with very little time to collect personal belongings. Some people said they arrived in Maiduguri with nothing, not even with shoes on their feet,” Kallon said.
“The United Nations is urging the government to urgently provide safety, shelter, food, water and medical care to the displaced civilians, in addition to information about when they will be allowed to return home.”
The statement continued: "The United Nations and its humanitarian partners call on the Government of Nigeria to take all possible practical measures to ensure the protection of civilians and full respect of the rights of individuals in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law as well as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
"The United Nations reaffirms its commitment to support national and local efforts to ensure that civilians affected by the conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states can access the humanitarian assistance and protection services they require."