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2.3m  people displaced by violence, inter-communal clashes -IOM 

Stanley Ihedigbo

The displacement crisis in north-east Nigeria is one of the world’s most complex with more than 2.3 million people displaced by violence linked to the actions of non-state armed groups, intercommunal clashes as well the compounded effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

Since the onset of the crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has played an essential role in gathering and analysing data to disseminate critical multi-layered information on the mobility, vulnerabilities, and needs of displaced and mobile populations that enables decision-makers and responders to provide these emergency humanitarian assistance as well as longer-term solutions.

It is in this regard that IOM, the Government of Nigeria through the National and State Emergency Management Agencies, the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria Red Cross Society, and other humanitarian INGOs and NNGOs partners have recently published the new report “Intention Survey: Voices of Internally Displaced Persons in North-East Nigeria” to shed light on IDPs’ preferred durable solutions among the three conventional options, namely voluntary return to places of origin, voluntary local integration, and voluntary relocation elsewhere in the country.

More than 25,000 IDP families living across 107 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 837 wards in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe States were surveyed between 16 November and 18 December 2023 as part of the report.

The cumulative findings across the six states showed that 38% of IDPs in both camps and camp-like settings and in the host communities would prefer to integrate within the host communities, citing security as the major reason for this preference. The report also reveals that 37% of the IDPs surveyed wish to return to their communities of origin, providing that adequate living conditions are ensured. Only two per cent (2%) intended to relocate to another LGA or state.

“The publication of this report jointly prepared with Federal and State agencies as well as humanitarian partners in the north-east is a testament to our collective commitment to data-driven decision-making and underscores the necessity of listening to the voices of the displaced in the formulation of policies and interventions”, said Laurent de Boeck, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission.

Looking at displaced families’ major concerns and challenges to return, the report ranks hunger and insufficient nutrition as the top issues mentioned by an overwhelming 90% of the respondents. Unemployment and housing conditions are also the cause of worry for a large percentage of the among them. For those wishing to return, most have declared the lack of financial resources, as well as the absence of basic social services and economic opportunities as barriers for them making the move.

Among its recommendations, the report calls for interventions to emphasize durable housing, livelihood development through vocational training, increased access to basic social services and social cohesion. It also recommends stronger synergies between Government and non-governmental actors to strengthen peace, security, and local economic development and reduce dependency on humanitarian aid.

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