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AN EXAMINATION OF THE STATE OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN NIGERIA

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AN EXAMINATION OF THE STATE OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN NIGERIA


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

One of the current issues confronting the Nigerian state pertains to addressing the predicaments faced by internally displaced individuals (IDPs), resulting from the persistent acts of violence carried out by the Boko Haram rebels in the northeastern region of the nation. In his own contribution to the meaning of IDPs, Ladan (2016) using international law approach described IDPs as Displaced persons under international law are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obligated to flee or to have cause to leave their homes or place of habitual residence in particular, due to or in order to stave off the effect of armed conflict, violations of human rights, situations of generalized violence, natural or man-made disasters, to another place considered relatively safe either within their own national borders (as internally displaced persons) or travel across an internationally recognized state border (as refugees) (Ladan, 2016).

In the Nigerian context, a link may be observed between terrorist organisations operating in the North-East area and those that are active in the North-West and North-Central regions. Since the inception of the  insurgency and banditry attacks, a significant loss of human life and destruction of valuable assets amounting to millions of naira have been witnessed in the northeastern region of Nigeria. Consequently, Adesote. & Peters (2015) opined that a considerable number of individuals have been compelled to abandon their residences and seek refuge in safer locations.  The individuals most significantly impacted are vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and women, who face substantial economical and political difficulties. Despite the Nigerian government's endeavours to alleviate the predicaments faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) by the establishment of IDP camps, significant obstacles persist in these camps located throughout the northeastern regions. These concerns encompass issues such as overpopulation, inadequate sanitary facilities, unemployment, and insecurity. In several instances, the aforementioned circumstance has compelled internally displaced persons (IDPs) to evacuate the IDP camps in order to ensure their personal safety. This kind of action exacerbates their existing hardships. There is currently no accurate official record available on the exact number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) resulting from the activities of the Boko Haram militants. However, it has been stated that in the year 2013, a total of 300,000 individuals left the states of Born, Adamawa, and Yobe. Among this population, it is estimated that seventy percent consisted of women and children (HRW, 2019). According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW, 2019), there is documented evidence indicating that a total of 470,500 individuals were forcibly relocated within various communities in Nigeria in the year 2013. This displacement was mostly attributed to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency, as well as other humanitarian catastrophes.

Furthermore, according to current statistical data, Nigeria is said to have the biggest population of displaced individuals in Africa, with an estimated figure of 3.3 million people as of 2016 (IDMS, 2014 and NRC, 2014). The shown data include individuals who have been displaced due to many factors, including the Boko Haram insurgency, community disputes, floods, and ongoing clashes between farmers and Fulani herders in the northeastern region. In terms of worldwide rankings, Nigeria is positioned below Syria, with a recorded number of 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and Colombia, with 5.7 million IDPs (IDMS, 2018). According to the statistics provided by HRW (2017), there has been a significant and unprecedented increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in recent years. This growth may be attributed primarily to the escalating frequency of Boko Haram assaults, the implementation of aggressive counter-insurgency measures, and the persistent occurrence of inter-communal violent disputes in several areas throughout the nation. In 2019, the conflicts between farmers and Fulani herders in the states of Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, and Kaduna resulted in the displacement of around 100,000 individuals, as reported by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in 2015. The escalating number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria has been a cause for concern throughout the course of time. According to IDMC's estimations in April 2020, a total of 1,538,982 individuals were compelled to evacuate their residences in Nigeria. This statistic encompasses those who have been displaced due to the violent assaults perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgency, as well as those affected by the government's counter-insurgency operations and the ongoing inter-communal violence. The state of Borno, which has been severely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, had the largest increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), with Adamawa and Yobe states following suit.

According to the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessment conducted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in April 2015, a total of 1,491,706 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were identified in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. Of this figure, approximately six percent can be attributed to intercommunal clashes, while the remaining ninety-four percent is a result of the Boko Haram insurgency. In February 2015, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) documented an increase of 47,276 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the regions of Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja (IOM, 2015). The aforementioned figure indicates that the cumulative count of internally displaced individuals in the year 2015 amounted to 1,538,982 among the states located in the northeastern region. In spite of the determined endeavours made by the Nigerian government to curb the violent actions of the insurgents, their operations have expanded beyond the northeastern region to encompass Abuja and its surrounding areas. This trend suggests that a greater number of individuals may face displacement if immediate actions are not implemented to curb the actions of the militants.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The prevalence of internally displaced individuals in Northeastern Nigeria resulting from the violent attacks carried out by the Boko Haram insurgency is a matter of great concern. Despite the government's attempts to mitigate the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) through the establishment of IDP camps, these individuals continue to encounter significant socio-economic, health, and environmental difficulties. These challenges include unemployment, insecurity, inadequate access to food and clean drinking water, overcrowding, and substandard sanitation conditions within their camps located across the northeastern states. In several instances, the aforementioned circumstances have compelled internally displaced persons (IDPs) to evacuate the camps in order to ensure their personal safety. This kind of action exacerbates their already challenging circumstances.

Ladan  (2016) stated that the concealed challenges faced by disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in their newly formed dwellings are a matter of great concern. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in IDP camps face security challenges, as the insurgents have consistently breached security protocols and carried out suicide bombings within certain IDP camps situated in the Northeast region. The continuous progression of development exacerbates the difficulties experienced by internally displaced individuals (IDPs) by subjecting them to heightened levels of psychological suffering and socio-economic adversity. Furthermore, the internally displaced individuals (IDPs) who have sought shelter in neighbouring towns are driven to rebuild their lives within these host communities, where they are confronted with uncertain futures. The phenomenon of internally displaced persons (IDPs) entails individuals who have been uprooted from their original homes and find themselves in foreign territories, where they face marginalisation and a lack of acknowledgment from the communities hosting them. One of the most severe forms of malevolence involves subjecting individuals to significant socio-economic hardships, such as malnutrition, inadequate housing, unemployment, societal biases, sexual misconduct, exploitation of child labour, early marriages, and the resulting prevalence of teenage pregnancies. In this particular situation, individuals are further faced with problems like intimidation, humiliation, and many forms of social isolation. Please expeditiously and effectively restate your material.Furthermore, Adesote. & Peters (2015) assert that the relocation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) exacerbates the already existing strain on limited social amenities in their host towns, including but not limited to housing, power, clean water, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and marketplaces. This situation creates a situation of intense rivalry between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities, particularly in terms of access to resources like as farmland. A significant proportion of IDPs rely heavily on farming as their primary source of income and sustenance. In the majority of instances, a portion of internally displaced persons (IDPs) find themselves without access to arable land for the purpose of cultivating their crops. The aforementioned circumstances result in decreased productivity among internally displaced persons (IDPs), hence exacerbating the existing difficulties related to food security and unemployment inside the nation.

Due to the aforementioned problems, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are susceptible to several health issues, including vascular illnesses, malaria, malnutrition, waterborne infections, and premature mortality. Moreover, the displacement has a significant impact on national production, since it results in the displacement of the youth population, who comprises a crucial component of the country's productive workforce. The consequence is that the demographic of young individuals who possess the potential to contribute to the increase of gross domestic products are now experiencing unemployment within their respective host communities.  The aforementioned difficulties have a detrimental impact on the government's development endeavours, contributing to the persistent decline in Nigeria's development index. Consequently, these issues necessitate immediate action. It is evident that the current circumstances need the establishment of effective strategies to handle the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Northeast region. The primary objective is to alleviate their hardships and facilitate their reintegration into society, so enabling them to make valuable contributions towards the socio-economic progress of the nation. This study aims to examine the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Northeast region and evaluate the measures used by the Nigerian government to mitigate this issue.

Despite the obvious academic questions raised by this conditions of IDPs and the need to address the puzzle and harness its outcomes for public policy making and implementation, extant studies have paid fleeting attention to this all important aspect of knowledge. The extant studies have not given deserved attention to the State of Internally Displaced  in Nigeria and  how the IDPs could be rehabilitated and re-integrated into the society, have rather focused on how to provide temporary measures that would alleviate their plights (Lopez, 2011:IDMC, 2013); Against the backdrop, this study was conducted.

1.3  Objectives of the study

The objective of this study is focused on appraisal of the state of internally displaced persons in Nigeria. The study specifically seeks to

i.          To examine socio-economic conditions of internally displaced persons in  Nigeria  IDP camp.

ii.        To ascertain the implications of internally displaced persons on Nigeria’s development.

iii.      To investigate government responses to plights of internally displaced persons in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

1.        What are the  socio-economic conditions of internally displaced persons in  Nigeria  IDP camp?

2.        What are the implications of internally displaced persons on Nigeria’s development?

3.        What are government responses to plights of internally displaced persons in Nigeria?

1.5       Research hypothesis

Ho: The state of internally displaced persons in  Nigeria is not in deplorable condition.

Hi:  The state of internally displaced persons in  Nigeria is in deplorable condition.


1.6 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 victims of arm banditry to deal with the traumatic experiences. This study will provide useful literature for further researchers who will conduct related research in the future. Nongovernmental organizations also would benefit from this study even as they worked with IDPs. The research will help the NGO to know to help those who suffer psychologically as a result of what they experienced that necessitate displacement from their homes. To government, the study is of paramount importance for policy makers and citizens for it traces the historical development of domestic terrorism in Nigeria, focusing on how corruption, ethno-political control of resources , poor governance, poverty, beatings and blows against etc have all added to the rise of terrorism in Nigeria. The study will enlighten security operatives on the need to develop counter-terrorism strategy to enable them curb the insecurity in the North east. Theoretically, the study will serve as reference material to student and other researchers in this field, provide useful information to the general public and provide useful educational materials in the libraries.

1.7 Scope of the Study

Owing that making an investigation like this is the whole northern Nigeria is broad, there is need  to delimit the study to researchable scope hence the researcher selected   Zamfara State as one of the affected State by terrorism with a sizeable number of internal displaced person.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

During the course of the research,  few minor obstacles while conducting the study, just as in every scientific endeavour. Lack of literature on   insurgency and it's effect on socio-economic development of North East Nigeria  was a key barrier. Hence, locating the pertinent resources, books, or information and the data gathering procedure took a lot of effort and organization. Language was also a barrier as most resident of Borno had difficulties understanding the research instrument because it was presented in English Language, hence the use of limited sample size. Therefore accuracy of the result will totally base on the data provided to the researcher by the educated resident and the results of this study cannot be generalized for other North East state, leaving a space for further research. Time restrictions were also an issue because the researcher had to complete this research while still going to classes and performing other necessary educational tasks.  However all aspects were minimized in order to deliver the best results possible and ensure the success of the research, despite the limitations that were faced during the study.

1.9       Definition of terms

Internal displacement / Internally Displaced Persons: Internally displaced persons are "persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.



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