Nigeria’s north-east region is currently plagued by major humanitarian crises. Since 2009, violent attacks on civilians have left at least two million people displaced.
Many have fled to Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri, or other urban centres in Borno where the government army provide some security. The influx has led to great pressure on already scarce resources. Out of 13.4 million people living in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, 7.1 million are in need of assistance, of which 1.6 million are returnees, 1.8 million are IDPs and 800,000 are living in inaccessible areas.
Today, more than a third of the total displaced population are living in highly congested displacement sites, well below international minimum standards. They lack access to basic amenities including proper shelter and latrines. The lack of space also raises serious protection concerns. It leads to rampant fires and increases the spread of water-borne diseases, including cholera.
Most internally displaced people in the region come from rural areas, where farming is the main source of livelihood. Lack of access to farmland results in displaced people and host families turning to begging, food rationing, and child labour.
People we helped in Nigeria in 2019
We help those displaced inside formal and informal camp settlements, as well as vulnerable host communities, while assessing who needs our help the most. NRC responds to rapid displacements and natural disasters (floods and fires) through the rapid response mechanism, by distributing emergency NFIs and food supplies.
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 indicate the alarming need among the young, with over half of children and adolescents between 6 and 15 years old in north-east Nigeria not attending school. Meanwhile, 66 per cent of the overall population have 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
- provides Education in Emergencies activities, including school rehabilitation, teacher training, and provision of teaching and learning materials
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 livelihoods and 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
There are 3.5 million people in the north-east region in need of shelter and NFI support. 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 and rehabilitate 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 which include basic household items like cooking utensils and cutlery
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)
- Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
- UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
- EU/Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (OCHA NHF)
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
About NRC in Nigeria
Sahel crisis: G7 leaders and African partners fail to take strong commitments in Biarritz
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