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CONFLICT AND DISPLACEMENT IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF CHALLENGES IN IDPS

  • Department: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
  • Chapters: 1-5
  • Pages: 70
  • Attributes: Questionnaire, Data Analysis, Abstract
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CHAPTER ONE

INTODUCTION

1.1       Background of The Study

There is no legal definition for IDPs as there is for Refugees. However, the United Nations report, Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement posit that IDPs are groups that are forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or homes, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border. The ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors are often due to armed conflict or violation of human right(s) or man-made disasters. Refugees are displaced persons who, due to one of the reasons as mentioned earlier, migrate to another state. Salama et al. (2001) noted that refugees have a unique status in International law. That the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee has an international responsibility to protect the rights of affected victims and coordinate both human and fundamental needs was espoused by the UNHCR in 2001. In international law, there are two classifications of displacement; Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons with acronym IDPs. A refugee is a group of people who flee from their home country to neighbouring state to seek protection outside their state border due to a threat to life while the internally displaced persons flee from their homes but stay in the country where the conflict occurred (Chimni 2000). According to the Guiding Principle of the United Nations population, Internally Displaced are often referred to as those who flee their residence as a result of insecurity caused by violence and systematic abuse of human right. They change their residences, away from such violence and the deprivation.

Questions still loom if these persons are considered as a part of the political, social and economic order, especially when references are made to undeveloped nations. The case for this concern stems from the fact that the IDPs in these countries are more often than not, forgot or left to their fate, and directly or indirectly further deprived of some fundamental human rights, not limited to the deprivation that precipitated their displacement. They are not catered for; neither is the cause of their movement tackled with seriousness, particularly in Nigeria. The aftermath of the Boko Haram insurgency led to the outgrowth of the IDPs and displacement problems, lay credence to the above argument.

IDPs are people whom involuntary migration from their homes as a result of armed conflict or drought and disasters in such critical situation that the relocation of an affected population becomes inevitable. Ibeanu (1999) submitted that IDPs are those who seek relocation due to a conflict in their region. However, Hampton (2013) opted that people that flee their homes to seek safer net within the confines of their national borders or home country are classified IDPs. It was recent that IDPs was given attention, before this time the focus of discourse was on Refugees. In 1988, the special Representative Security General the United Nations issued a Guiding Principles for IDPs; this was a framework that helped in curtailing the challenges faced by the internally displaced persons. Similarly, IDPs encounter greater challenges and uncertainty in camps which ranges from the right to property to dehumanizing conditions. They are scourged by poverty and hunger, diseases, neglects and feelings of alienations among others. All these conspire to worsen their status as internally displaced persons to psychosocially and emotionally displaced persons.

Salama et al. (2001), noted that the group of IDPs who migrate to other places does so unwillingly; hence they can be categorized under the term “forced displacement.” A phenomenon where the existence and magnitude of which are at best the subject of political discussion and the dynamics of which remain predominantly in the hands of individual actors (Meerton et al. 1997). To show the remarkable difference between the IDPs and Refugees, Cohen (1994:305-06) observed that unlike refugees, IDPs often fall within a vacuum of responsibility within their countries. There is no clear international responsibility for assisting and protecting the internally displaced aside the general international humanitarian law, whereas, for refugees, the UNHCR exercises that responsibility on a clear ground. Cohen (1995) has thrown up something that ordinarily would have remained elusive and vague to us thus; the distinction is better understood from the ‘internal-external’ angles of displacement. The fact that the plight and welfare of the IDPs are not adequately treated, the same respects like the well-being of the refugees remain contentious.

Wille (2006) opined that the experiences of internally displaced persons are highly sensitive, with a potential to trigger deep divisions among states if not handled sensitively and promptly.

From it, we have been able to unearth the grave neglect of the IDPs in the society where in some circumstances their basic needs are not met. This insensitivity is reflected in government policies, in which little or no protection is given to this class of people, not even as a part of citizens. Thus, previous studies on the subject matter have given some quantitative estimates of the population of the internally displaced people in the world however; the estimates are amenable to change from time to time. These are primarily due to the increasing rate of armed conflict, violence and social unrest, which has uprooting people (Meerton et al..1997). In 1999, the US Committee on IDPs stated that there were 21 million people worldwide who had been displaced. The latest study by IDMC in 2013 (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre) has shown that this figure has increased to 28.8 million people. With the annual percentage growing at 2.5% vis-à-vis the alarming increment rate of armed conflict, violence and social unrest in many countries of the world, it is expected this number would round off by 30million by the end of 2015.   

According to Egwu (2011), the full scope of displacement is unknown in Nigeria. He based his argument on the capacity and resource of accurate data from a complex nature of IDPs. Consequently, the report of the IDMC (2012), shows that there had not been an actual survey on displacement and no mechanisms to monitor for a durable solution. Rather what have been is mere estimate of those in IDP camps or sight whereas researcher has not taken into consideration those with families and relatives outside the camps. Consequently, no official government report has given the accurate number despite the growing concerns. Oduwole et al. (2013), traced the factor responsible for displacement to the push and pull factors involved; stating that one must take into cognizance violent conflict coupled with increasing level of poverty and low levels of education particularly in the northern Nigeria where the IDPs in high. The number of recorded cases of displacement caused by manmade circumstances supersedes those from nature such as flooding, ocean surges, fire, tsunamis, etc. (Manz, 2011). The democratic transition in Nigeria in 1999 clearly showed the increase of people affected by diverse conflicts.  Thus, since then the numbers of IDPs in Nigeria have been on the increase (Micheal et al. 2014).  

Politicization of religion and ethnicity in Nigeria led to the emergence of groups like Oduwuwa Peoples' Congress (OPC), the Arewa Peoples’ Congress (APC), and of late the Movement Jama’atAhlus al-Sunnah LiddawatiWal- Jihad styled as Boko Haram and others (Bamidele 2012::10). The same goes to the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) movement of 1966 which led to the dreaded Nigerian-Biafran War that gulped about 1,000,000 people and displaced many. The emergence of these groups had resulted in the growing number of IDPs for decades in Nigeria. But the most radical of the group is the Boko Haram with reported cases of violence with and across the shores of Nigeria. Attacks from this Islamic sect have resulted in the destruction and damage of infrastructure worth billions (Oriakhi and Osemwengie 2012). People flee almost every day, and are still forced into repeated displacement, when there are limited safe places, as a safe place today may turn unsafe the next day. Some scholars have argued that the victims suffer not only displacement but also, dislocations. The situation of displacement is very critical that the government of Nigeria is even yet to have an up-to-date number of IDPs. 

It is trite to note that terrorism whether domestic or transnational often has a devastating effect on the society. Hampton (2013), observed that immediately after the end of the Cold War the world had seen new forms of conflict which range from the birth of radical sect, terrorism, and fundamentalist group. The sovereignty of states is put to test by various secessionist groups’ demand for autonomy while the innocent citizens affected are exposed to all forms of human right violation in conflict scenario (Hampton 2013).

Consequently, since the year 2009, Boko Haram gained recognition from international media and Western society particularly in the April 2014 tragic event that led to the abduction of over 250 Chibok school girls (Zenn 2014). Scholars like Akpan, Ekanem et al. (2014); stated that within 2002-2013 an estimated number of 10,000 persons have lost their lives to the insurgency while over 100 million dollars of property destroyed by the sect which led to massive displacement of persons.   Scholars have argued that Nigeria spends 25% revenue on security. However, despite the enormous amount that is channeled to security the situation remains unaddressed. Many critics have attributed the failure to the Nigeria to address the growing increase of IDPs as politically motivated factors.  

In Ibeanu (1999), it was stated that due to the survey conducted it estimated that over 300,000 persons are displaced as a result of communal conflicts in the South-eastern part of Nigeria alone. The report submitted by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also confirms that Boko Haram had displaced over 60,000 people who had fled across the neighboring borders of Cameroon, Chad and Niger becoming refugees. No doubt the increasing numbers of IDPs in the country remains a problem to the international community. IDPs face diverse security challenges that remain unaddressed by the affected state. He further observed that it portrays a lack of political wills by the state.  

 Hampton (2013), maintained that displaced victims often settle in “forests or jungles" and become affected by contagious diseases or suffer human deprivation. It becomes evident that victims are in economic hardship, they are often deprived of contributing positively to the economy of the own state (Harris Rimmer 2010).  Every year there are cases of hundreds and thousands of people fleeing their homes to seek refuge outside their communities “buffer zone” (Hampton 2013). The world figures of IDPs are growing by the day currently estimated that over 20-24 million are IDPs, and the number is still growing (The UN Refugee Agency 2015).

Omotola (2008), had contended that the poverty remains the toughest problem that Nigeria is facing in her drive to development.  It has been argued elsewhere that the failure of government had led to the high rate of poverty and unemployment (Ayegba 2015). This is in line with the position of Bade Onimode about the vicious cycle of poverty that Africa is weak because of the mismanagement of the state resources by corrupt political gladiators. Ayegba (2015), cited rightly from Dollard et al. (1939:39), notes that violence is due to “frustration that led men to act aggressively.” Thus, if the state lacks the political will to handle protection from hunger, poverty, disease, fear and wants, in such situations crimes become the order of the day. 

1.2.      Statement of the Problem

Scholars like Enwereji (2009), has rightly observed that in conflict situation IDPs are exposed to different forms of vulnerability and needs. More worrisome is the trauma experienced by these victims who are not adequately protected by the state agencies. Thus, there has been a lack of political will by the government in the provision of the fundamental and human needs of victims in IDPs centers (Channels News 2015).  Not much have been seen by the key agencies in charge of emergency issues in Nigeria to respond to the psychological, fundamental and human needs of victims in IDPs camps. The affected are not socially protected due to lack of accessible health care, accommodation, and food. The narratives of the victims are a pointer that there is little or no social security. Thus, some of the victims end up sleeping in abandoned public buildings or in the open, while pregnant women delivers their babies in IDP camps without the help of a midwife in long run becoming more vulnerable. 

This study pertains to the experiences of an internally displaced population in Northeast Nigeria, from the perspective of basic and human needs of the IDPs, the role of gender and the government policies to ameliorate the sufferings of the IDPs. 

1.3.      Objectives of the Study 

1.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on gender discrimination

2.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on sexual abuse

3.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on insecurity

            1.4.      Research questions   

1.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on gender discrimination

2.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on sexual abuse

3.      To examine the effect challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on insecurity

1.5.      Statement of the hypothesis  

1.   There is no significant effect of challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on gender discrimination

2.   There is no significant effect of challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on sexual abuse

3.   There is no significant effect of challenges and conflict in internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria based on insecurity

1.6.      Significance of the study

The findings of this research shall be of benefit to the governments and policy planners of Nigeria and Cameroon in the sense that they shall be resourceful in coming up with improved managerial techniques for handling the internally displaced as well as for tackling the causes and reducing the impacts of internal displacement on citizens. They shall likewise benefit governmental and humanitarian agencies, national and international, that are concerned with the welfare of the internally displaced. Besides, the findings of the research shall help citizens of both countries become well aware of their right not to be displaced. The internally displaced themselves shall gain from the findings of the research: they shall become aware of the rights and privileges accruing to people of their status. Again, the findings of the research shall contribute to knowledge in the field of displacement – especially internal displacement – which appears to have a relatively scanty volume of literature.

1.7.      Justification of study

One main significance of this study is that when completed, it would serve as a bridge for the gap that have been created between where previous works on this subject area stopped and today.

This study is significant in the sense that it’s finding would serve as a base and framework for future researchers to carry out further studies in the field of knowledge under study.

1.8       Scope/ Limitation of study

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