The Guardian | Adelowo Adebumiti | September 3, 2020
In the last 10 years, an estimated six million Nigerians have fled their homes for fear of extermination, abduction, and other forms of treatments by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria, a recent report has revealed.
The report, titled, ‘Managing Internal Displacement Crisis in Nigeria: Toward Global Best Practices in Guaranteeing the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through the Media’, was published by Journalists for Christ with support from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) and the Waldensian Church’s Otto Per Mille.
The research, which is a follow –up of an earlier project titled, ‘Monitoring Media Reportage and Portrayal of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Cases studies of Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya’, stated that in the Northeast alone, the decade-long attacks by the group have displaced over 1.8 million people.
According to the study, the Internally Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates the total number of IDPs in the country between January and December 2018 to be above two million with Borno State alone accounting for 1.4 million of that figure.
The report said about 2, 000 new IDPs in the first half of 2019 were displaced by a natural disasters, namely flooding, while violent conflicts were responsible for more than 140, 000 cases within the same period.
IDPs in over 80 camps and camp-like locations are reported to be made up of an estimated 53 to 54 per cent women, 46 to 47 per cent men while 56 per cent are said to be children compared to adults that make up 44 per cent.
The report said only a sizeable number of IDPs conservatively estimated to be over 2.5 million are living within the camps.
A large population of IDPs, according to the report, may continue to pose daunting challenges for the country due to unresolved conflicts over resources, most especially, land making reference to the frequency of clashes over cattle grazing as well as other land-related volatile disputes across communities.
The study also identified the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs) as critical factors associated with high propensity of deepening violent conflicts with potential for displacement of the population.
The group said the proliferation of SALWs in the country has led to a growing number of private armies with a heighten tempo of armed violence orchestrated by inter-ethnic militancy as well as worsening criminalities by armed gangs.