AN INVESTIGATIVE STUDY ON CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED BY INTERNALLY DISPLACED CHILDREN IN MAKURDI METROPOLIS OF BENUE STATE
1.1 Background of the study
People who are internally displaced, or IDPs, are mostly victims of human cruelty against one another. They suffer from a variety of injustices and violent encounters, including terrorism, riots, religious disputes, family strife, community conflicts, and natural catastrophes, which are either carried out by their own government or by external parties (Akuto, 2017). A number of conflicts have plagued Benue state, particularly Makurdi city, and they have severely hampered the state's socioeconomic progress. Conflicts, particularly those between communities and between and among ethnic groups, predate the colonial period and have long been a recurring problem (Dickson, Danjuma & Stephen, 2018). These disputes, together with other societal crises like the 2017 flood, have compelled families and their children to flee their homes in search of safety and sanctuary in other places. According to Ode (2018), among other dangers, a concerning number of individuals from Benue state's Guma, Gwer West, Gwer East, and Agatu local governments have been forced to flee their homes and livelihoods in recent years due to terrorist assaults by Fulani Herdsmen. As a result of these incidents, many camps have been established around the state to rescue internally displaced people. Children in Makurdi bear the brunt of these hardships faced by families, with population relocation becoming a revolting issue at the core of the problems. They are always at risk of becoming victims of calamities and instability. This has resulted in child abuse and abandonment in all its manifestations, as well as street hawking. Children who lost their parents as a consequence of these disasters are the most revered groups (GRID, 2015). Dickson, Danjuma, and Stephen (2018) report that child abuse was evident in the majority of the state's internally displaced person camps. This abuse frequently took the form of physical harm, emotional abuse, sexual assault, neglect, child labour, child hawking, confinement, social isolation, verbal abuse that was repeated, emotional neglect, and indifferent treatment. Poor development may result from not providing for a child's fundamental requirements, enrolling them in school, providing insufficient supervision, and consistently failing to shield them from risk and hazards, according to Talja (2015). According to Christelle (2019), children who are internally relocated face increased risks of maltreatment, neglect, and violence, as well as health issues, hardship, and other negative consequences. This has an impact on their well-being now and in the future. Christelle's (2019) research has discovered several forms and manifestations of prejudice against internally displaced children, including but not limited to physical, mental, social, cultural, and emotional maltreatment. Children in camps for internally displaced people are not limited by any genetic deficiencies; rather, their socioeconomic situation is what limits them. The ability of the internally displaced children to exercise their fundamental human rights is continuously denied to them. Adamu's (2016) research claims that children who are internally displaced are denied access to basic utilities and freedoms and are kept off from mainstream social activities. Their tendency to remain isolated from society has an adverse effect on their ability to survive on an intellectual, social, and economic level. Children in Makurdi who are internally displaced face a number of issues, including as homelessness, little or no schooling, a difficult social life, hunger, a lack of clothes, and other basic needs for survival. According to Cinjel and Akende (2015), every country's growth begins with the eradication of inequality. Children are the future of every country, and these internally displaced kids are no different. According to Adamu (2016), the difficulty of the modern economy lies in the socioeconomic expansion and integration, which calls for children to be trained and equipped for the workforce via career guidance. This aims to get them ready for life both within the camps and beyond to ensure their physical, mental, social, and financial survival. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to look at the difficulties faced by internally displaced children in Benue State, Nigeria's Makurdi Metropolis. Five (5) significant IDP camps in Benue State's Makurdi metropolitan will get special attention. This will include the following camps: Ogiri Ajene, NEPA quarters camp, Abagema camp, Old Market camp, and IBB camp Ichua. The study's motivation comes from looking at how common it is for kids in IDP camps to have a bad social life, financial difficulties, and poor eating patterns. These problems may escalate to violence and child abuse, which can endanger human existence. The researchers sought to investigate challenges encountered by Internally Displaced Children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has drawn attention from across the globe. Nations all across the world are struggling to find a long-term solution to this problem. The study area has seen residential displacement as a result of assaults by terrorists, herders, insurgents, and insurgencies, to name a few. It may be the result of terrorism, persecution, a natural disaster, etc. in other parts of the world (Abbas, 2017). These hideous patterns may be seen in many forms, upending the delicate balance of harmony and leaving people homeless or dead. These events have caused immense suffering to people all around the world. In addition to taking many lives in the rural farming communities, the Fulani insurgents' attacks have resulted in thousands of internal displacements, which has had a severe negative impact on the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of those affected as well as social dislocations. In fact, the most vulnerable populations in rural areas—women, children, and the elderly—are the ones most impacted by these assaults. These internally displaced people (IDPs), who have been living in various camps around the state for more than three years, tend to have rapidly declining conditions, which is transforming the camps from temporary havens for comfort into permanent nightmare centres. This research examines the predicament and living circumstances of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Benue state, who, having previously lived in the comfort of their houses, have been forced to live in temporary shelters for many years in the wilderness. The study, therefore, sought to investigate challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State. The specific objectives is as follows:
i. Examine factors contributing to the internal displacement of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
ii. Find out effects of internal displacement on the social lives of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
iii. Investigate challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
1.4 Research questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
i. What are the factors contributing to the internal displacement of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State?
ii. What are the effects of internal displacement on the social lives of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State?
iii. What are the challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State?
1.5 Significance of the study
The findings of this research would provide useful information to psychological centers, and clinical psychologist who seeks to offer therapeutic services to help internally displaced children with the traumatic experiences. Non-governmental organizations also would benefit from this study even as they worked with IDPs. The research will help the NGO to know to help children who suffer psychologically as a result of what they experienced that necessitate displacement from their homes. This study will provide useful information to the general public. It will provide useful educational materials in the libraries. This study will provide useful literature for further researchers who will conduct related research in the future.
1.6 Scope of the study
The study focuses on the challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State. Hence, the study will examine factors contributing to the internal displacement of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State,find out effects of internal displacement on the social lives of children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State and investigate challenges encountered by internally displaced children in Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State. Hence, the study is delimited to Makurdi Metropolis of Benue State.
1.7 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.