Protection Sector Principled Returns / Relocation Strategy in the Context of Government-Led Camp Closures


Despite the relative peace obtained in some towns across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States in Northeast Nigeria, the conflict continues with an estimated 2.2 million persons displaced. According to the latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (round 46), Borno State currently hosts around 885,940 IDPs, Adamawa State hosts 18,772 IDPs and Yobe State hosts a total of 19,353 IDPs.

The agenda of the Borno State Government (BSG) to end displacement saw the closing of camps in Maiduguri in early 2023, as well as the announcement of plans to continue closing camps in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the informal camps within Maiduguri and Jere. Consequently, IDPs have been relocated to LGA headquarters and towns, some of which are in areas that are hard or extremely hard for humanitarian partners to reach due to insecurity. In many of these return / relocation areas the population also face limited freedom of movement and access to basic services, most importantly food and safe farming. On 20 January 2024, the BSG plan to close camps at the LGA level began with the closure of Ngala ISS Camp and the relocation of the population to Logumane community. Reportedly 448 households were registered, out of which 408 were relocated. The process was done without the involvement of the humanitarian actors in Ngala and with limited community participation and advance notice on date and time of the relocation, leading to some families being left behind in the camps. With this relocation having taken effect within the first month of 2024, further camp closures are anticipated in 2024 and beyond.

The Adamawa State Government’s (ADSG) desire to end displacement started since 2018 with the announcement of plans to consolidate camps in the LGAs and the informal camps within the Fufore, Mubi, Yola South, Hong and Maiha LGAs. These camps provide temporary shelter, basic services, and humanitarian assistance to displaced individuals and are managed by various relief agencies, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS).

The ADSG is currently planning the closure of the established camps in Adamawa State and the transition of displaced individuals to more permanent housing solutions. The exact date of the camp closure has not yet been announced.

Given that there are no formal camps in Yobe State, the closure of the informal camps is not on the State’s agenda.

In order to support the government with principled, orderly, and smooth camp closures, it is imperative for humanitarian partners to develop a strategy to address protection concerns and maintain continuous protection services during and after camp closure.