A STUDY ON THE SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACT OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the study
The displacement of individuals in the northern regions of Nigeria, namely in the north east, north central, and Federal Capital Territory, may be attributed to the aggressive actions of the Boko Haram group and intercommunal conflicts (Kothhari, 2016). Numerous residences have incurred severe damage, resulting in the loss of life for thousands of individuals and necessitating the displacement of numerous more seeking refuge. The individuals who have been forced to leave their homes are now residing either inside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or in other regions of the nation, where they are recognised as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (Adamu & Rasheed, 2016). Despite the existence of the 1999 constitution and several regional and international agreements that obligate member nations to promote the well-being of their residents by promoting peace, order, and a fear-free living, Nigeria has persistently experienced a significant number of insurgent instances and violent communal conflicts. The conflicts have resulted in the internal displacement of communities and significant loss of life and property. The perpetual and significant endangerment of both human life and personal belongings is a pressing concern [Adenitan, 2015]. The extent of human rights violations and abuses resulting from the many conflicts is very concerning. In some circumstances, it has resulted in a total collapse of the legal system and societal order in various regions of the country (Beland, 2015). Regrettably, the armed forces and other security professionals deployed in these crisis zones use disproportionate force, therefore exacerbating the state of war. There is a prevalent accusation of prejudice against them, as well as a failure to adhere to the established standards of engagement. Consequently, a certain portion of the communities they are tasked with restoring peace, law, and order in have developed a sense of mistrust towards them. This distrust significantly undermines their purpose, as highlighted by Itumo and Nwefuru (2016). The victims of the persistent assaults include both innocent people who find themselves trapped in the midst of conflicts between terrorists and the Nigerian security forces, as well as those caught in the crossfire of communities involved in inter-communal strife. In addition to causing significant loss of human lives and property valued at billions of Naira, these confrontations also result in the aftermath of several fatalities, injuries, and disabilities. As is often observed, a significant proportion of the individuals affected by this phenomenon are elderly individuals, women, and children. According to Robinson (2016), those experiencing relocation face restricted availability of fundamental requirements such as sustenance, attire, housing, and healthcare. One of the prominent issues hindering the socio-economic progress of Nigeria is the provision of basic necessities for the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the entire country, with a particular focus on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This challenge arises primarily from the persistent acts of violence carried out by the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeastern region of Nigeria. Robinson (2016) highlights the intricate nature of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, which has hindered the acquisition of precise data necessary for effective planning and execution of potential action plans by the Nigerian government. According to Opara (2016), it has been observed that the Boko Haram militants started their campaign of terror in the northeastern region of the country in 2009. This has resulted in significant loss of life and destruction of properties, leading to the displacement of many individuals who have sought refuge elsewhere for their safety and security. The presence of the Boko Haram organisation has led to a sustained increase in the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria over a prolonged period of time. The Federal Capital Territory, along with other regions of the nation, has experienced varying levels of instability, which has had an impact on the population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The economic prosperity, social welfare, and general quality of life of the inhabitants are impacted. The issue of security has become a primary priority for the Nigerian government, prompting significant investments of resources in order to address this matter.Typically, the individuals who experience the most impact in conflicts are those belonging to vulnerable populations, such children, women, and the elderly, who are subjected to significant economical hardships. In accordance with the findings of Opara (2016), the government has implemented several measures aimed at mitigating the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), primarily via the establishment of IDP camps. The administration has not yet effectively addressed the issues of overpopulation, inadequate sanitation, unemployment, and insecurity inside the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp. The ongoing terrorist operations perpetrated by Boko Haram and other extreme Islamic fundamentalist organisations pose a significant danger to the overall tranquilly of the nation, resulting in the displacement of a substantial portion of the population [Verissimo, 2017]. Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate the socioeconomic impact of internal displacement in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has emerged as a significant catalyst for internal migration, garnering considerable attention at both domestic and global levels. The aforementioned sect has engendered significant conflicts, not just limited to the northeastern section of the nation, but also extending to the neighbouring areas. The persistent occurrence of acts of terrorism and armed conflict has resulted in the cessation of several enterprises in the north-eastern area. Additionally, it has also acted as a deterrent for potential investors to allocate resources in the local economy (Verissimo, 2017). Many individuals have been compelled to evacuate their principal place of residence, where they engage in economic pursuits, and relocate to a location where they lack productive endeavours. There has been extensive damage to both public and private assets, as well as infrastructure, resulting in significant financial losses amounting to billions of naira. These resources, if preserved, might have been used to foster investment and produce economic revenue. Empirical data indicates that the North Eastern states have a comparatively lower level of development when compared to other areas within the nation. The area exhibits a notable prevalence of poverty and a significant incidence of illiteracy. It may be argued that internal displacement presents significant socio-economic issues to the economy, regardless of the specific nation, such as Nigeria. It is important to emphasise that governments are not the sole entities encountering these issues, and the situation in Nigeria is not an isolated occurrence. Other parties, including as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social workers, and foreign organisations, also play a significant role in the matter. Against this backdrop, this study seeks to investigate the socioeconomic impact of internal displacement in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate the socioeconomic impact of internal displacement in Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows:
i.Ascertain the cause of internal displacement in Nigeria.
ii.Ascertain the prevalence of internal displacement in Nigeria
iii.Determine the extent internal displacement affect socio-economic development in Nigeria
ii. Ascertain the socio-economic implications of internal displacement in Nigeria.
1.4 Research questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
i.What is the cause of internal displacement in Nigeria?
ii.What is the prevalence of internal displacement in Nigeria?
iii.What is the extent internal displacement affect socio-economic development in Nigeria?
ii. What are the socio-economic implications of internal displacement in Nigeria?
1.5 Resrearch Hypotheses
The hypotheses have been formulated for the study:
H0: The extent to which internal displacement affect socio-economic development in Nigeria is low.
Ha: The extent to which internal displacement affect socio-economic development in Nigeria is high.
1.6 Significance of the study
The findings of the study is significant policy makers which aims to guide the different branches of government, donors and humanitarian agencies in preventing displacement and in providing protection and assistance to those displaced have not been sign into law. It also allocates responsibilities to the appropriate government bodies for different aspects of the short term, medium term and long term response to internally displaced persons, with the existing National Commission for Refugees (NCFR) as the national focal point with responsibility for coordinating the activities of all agencies like National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and International Humanitarian Agencies (IHA) have not been officially launched.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study focuses on the socioeconomic impact of internal displacement in Nigeria. Hence, the study will ascertain the cause of internal displacement in Nigeria, ascertain the prevalence of internal displacement in Nigeria, determine the extent internal displacement affect socio-economic development in Nigeria and ascertain the socio-economic implications of internal displacement in Nigeria. The study is delimited to Abuja.
1.8 Limitations of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.