Nigeria’s north-east region is currently plagued by major humanitarian crises. Since 2009, violent attacks on civilians by Boko Haram have left at least two million people displaced within the country.
The country’s north-eastern Borno State is experiencing a triple crisis: hunger, cholera, and conflict. Nearly 1.6 million people are critically food insecure there.
Many have fled to Borno’s capital Maiduguri and other urban areas where the government army is present and provides some security. But the influx has led to great pressure on already scarce resources. Most internally displaced people in Borno State come from rural areas, where farming is the main source of livelihood, and have trouble earning a living in the cities. As a result, displaced people and host families turn to begging, food rationing, and child labour.
Displaced women and children are at the highest risk of abuse during conflict. Limited water points mean that women and girls need to travel long distances to collect water, which puts them at a higher risk of sexual exploitation and harm.
People we helped in Nigeria in 2017
We help those displaced outside informal camp settlements and vulnerable host communities, while assessing who needs our help the most. While the Nigerian government has encouraged displaced people to move back home to their communities, our 2017 report, Not Ready to Return, found that 86 per cent of displaced people in north-east Nigeria are afraid to return. We recommend better integration planning and the provision of accurate information for those who want to relocate or return home.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
Some rights and services in Nigeria are only available after producing certain legal identity documents. Cultural norms mean that women and minority groups are most likely to face challenges. Our ICLA teams:
- collaborate with national and state-level actors to provide birth certificates and national identification cards so that displaced people can access basic services
- provide free legal counsel on housing, land and property rights (HLP rights), and legal documentation
- strengthen security of tenure for displaced Nigerians living in urban areas, where unclear rental and land property agreements can result in forced evictions and multiple displacements
- assist in collaborative dispute resolution processes to resolve legal disputes
- train Nigerian government officials and employees of organisations working on HLP rights
Poverty, illiteracy, lack of access to education and youth unemployment indicates the alarming need among the young, with over half of children and adolescents between 6-15 years old not attending school in north-east Nigeria. Meanwhile, 66 per cent of the overall population has never been to school and the Nigerian government is keen on promoting entrepreneurship and job creation for youth. In line with their agenda, our education team:
- provides Skills for Work and Life Training for youth, which include building agricultural and life skills and improving literacy
- promotes entrepreneurship and further education
Livelihoods and food security
An estimated 5.2 million people need food assistance, and most have lost their farms. Communities hosting displaced people also suffer as they share their limited resources. Our food security teams:
- distribute food baskets and electronic cash transfers for food and household items
- give training sessions on food production for those whose livelihoods have been damaged by violence and displacement
- provide cash grants for business opportunities
- provide agricultural input to support displaced families who are growing their own vegetable gardens and crops
Shelter and settlements
At least 1.6 million Nigerians require emergency shelters in the north-east. Shelters constructed in camps have been predominantly temporary and are emergency shelters not meant for long-term use. Outside of camps, semi-permanent shelters used by displaced people are dilapidated. Our shelter teams:
- construct shelters in camps and urban areas
- distribute cash e-vouchers to enable people to purchase shelter materials from pre-approved shops and pay for repairs to damaged shelters
- improve infrastructure, such as drainage
- distribute emergency shelter kits
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
Lack of clean drinking water and hygiene has led to the prevalence of water-borne disease and other threats to public health, like cholera. Our teams work inside and outside camps to:
- provide safe water and construct water storage tanks
- construct latrines, hand washing, and bathing facilities, in coordination with our shelter teams
- conduct training sessions, door-to-door campaigns, and discussion groups to promote good hygiene practices
- distribute hygiene kits
- construct and rehabilitate boreholes
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
- Department for International Development (DFID)
- EU/Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
- EU Trust Fund
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- SIDA Rapid Response Mechanism
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
About NRC in (country)
Why you should care about the Lake Chad crisis
Dependent on aid, neglected and affected by climate change and conflict. Millions of people are fighting a daily battle to survive in northeastern Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon - the four countries that surround Lake Chad.
11 million people need urgent aid in Lake Chad region
Eleven international organisations call for increased protection and support to civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict in the Lake Chad region.