The crisis in northeastern Nigeria has been an ongoing internal armed conflict since the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram began operating in the region since 2014. As a result, the region has experienced massive displacement, with some 2,730,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from conflict and 143,110 from natural disasters. In turn, there are 324,285 Nigerian refugees in Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
While Boko Haram is typically concentrated in the northeast of Nigeria, the group’s insurgents have recently taken over multiple communities in the north-central Niger state.
The living conditions of IDPs are characterised by irregular and inadequate distribution of food, crude shelters, and poor health and sanitation services. This has made it more difficult for them to limit the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19.
Despite the return of Nigerian IDPs and refugees to accessible areas, the crisis remains critical. One of the most severe impacts of displacement is disruption to livelihoods, with people who are unable to meet their basic needs due to lack of access to agricultural land.
In addition, the dislocation of families and destruction of basic infrastructure has meant that over 13 million children are out of school due to Boko Haram’s activities in northeast Nigeria.
Longstanding violence between Fulani pastoralists and Hausa farmers in the northwestern states of Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states has become more frequent, and rural banditry and criminal violence is on the rise. Communal violence was also reported in the southern states of the country, though data on displacement is scarcer. Flooding also continues to displace hundreds of thousands of people every year during the rainy season. To understand the scale of the conflict, approximately 4,189 new displacements were reported in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Benue between 14 and 20 March, as a result of insecurity and violence.
Nigeria is also home to over 73,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. Most refugees, some 67,000 women, men and children, fled violence in Cameroon.
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