The Humanitarian Crisis in Nigeria

The Humanitarian Crisis in Nigeria

The state of humanitarian crisis in Nigeria has become alarming, especially in the Northern Eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, and has had a spill-over effect in neighbouring countries like Chad, and Cameroon. As reported by the United State Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the  number of people in need of urgent assistance in north-east Nigeria rose from 7.9 million at the beginning of 2020 to 10.6 million since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Unicef, this conflict in north-eastern Nigeria has continued to devastate the lives of civilians, resulting in a humanitarian crisis affecting 7.7 million women, men and children who are all in acute need of help and protection. It reports that since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, more than 4,000 people abducted and 1.7 million remain displaced, mostly in Borno State. According to UNHCR, there are over 2.7 million internally displaced persons in North-Eastern Nigeria, over 684,000 IDps in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and 294000 refugees in the four countries.

Civilians are the major victims of the conflict, as many have been displaced. Thousands of women and girls have been abducted, and have been made to face different forms of violence. There has also been a rise in the number of underage terrorists , as many have been recruited by these armed groups to carry person-borne improvised explosive devices (PBIEDs).

According to UNOCHA, currently, 1.9 million people are still internally displaced, some living in dire conditions. Over 80 per cent of them are in Borno State – the epicentre of the crisis, as four out of five internally displaced people are women and children, and one in four are under the age of five. Also, it reports that an estimated number of up to 1.2 million people remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, 81 per cent of whom are in Borno State.

The Farmer-Herder clashes are still occuring in the background, thus threatening food security and peaceful co-existence in the country. These clashes have been more devastating in the Middle Belt, in such  states as Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau. As a result, there have been calls to label the Herders/Nomads (Fulani Herdsmen) as terrorists, as the violence has spread to other regions in the East and South. From 2011-2019, the violence claimed an estimated 8,000 lives, based on a 2019 joint assessment by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons. The report also indicated that a total of 210,354 persons have been displaced from 171 towns across the northwestern region.

There are also seasonal communal clashes, and regional conflicts in Kaduna and Jos. Most of these conflicts are ethnic conflicts , while others are religious based among Christians and Muslims. In modern times, the Kaduna South Crisis, and Jos Crisis have been a recurring incident, and  have continued to ravage families. Many have had to seek shelter in neighbouring states, as so many lives have been taken.

Banditry violence has also been on the increase in Nigeria, as it has affected people living in such states as Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Katsina States in the NorthWest. According to the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), about 21 million of those living in these states have been exposed to insecurity from the activities of these bandits. These activities which include cattle rustling, kidnapping, and sexual violence, have affected about 35 of the 92 local government areas in the four states. As at March 2020, ACAPS reported that about 210,000 persons have been internally displaced, and over 35000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries such as Niger.

The government has continued to rally round for support from International agencies in the fight against terrorism, as it tries to manage the Boko Haram Terrorists in the North East, the rising Banditry violence in the North East, as well as the Herdsmen-Farmer Clashes in the North Central, South West , and South East. It has also tried to curb Youth restiveness/Niger Delta Militants attacks in the South South, as well as the rising secessionist movements in the South East. Not only this, with the fight against corruption by public officials, the government has been blamed for non-accountability of recovered funds, and showing bias in the appropriation of funds , fight against corruption , and appointment of public officials.

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