THE IMPACTS OF IDP ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NIGERIA
Northern Nigeria among other regions of the country has witnessed various degrees of insecurity with its resultant effect on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), economic fortunes of the affected communities and overall standard of living of those living within the affected states. This has made security the major concern for Nigerian government and has invested huge resources to that effect. Insecurity in the north has not only prevented development of that region but also hinders foreign investment, disrupt social activities, peaceful coexistence and has become a great threat to the growth and development of the region in particular and Nigeria in general. This research therefore, examined the insecurity situation in the Northern Nigeria and its effects on the IDPs.
1.1 Background to the study
One of the contemporary challenges facing the Nigerian state is how to provide succor to the plights of the internal displaced persons (IDPs), occasioned by incessant violent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents in northeastern part of the country. Since Boko Haram insurgents began their campaign of terror against the Nigerian state in the northeast in 2009, many lives have been lost while properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed, forcing many people to flee their homes for safety areas. Obviously, the most affected persons are vulnerable groups such as children, aged and women who are exposed to severe socioeconomic and political challenges. Even though Nigerian government has made efforts to address the plights of IDPs by providing IDPs camps, there are still challenges of overcrowding, poor sanitation, joblessness and insecurity in the IDPs camps across the states of Northeast. This situation has in some occasions forced the IDPs to even flee the IDPs camps for their safety, an action that worsens their predicaments.
Although, there is no existing precise officially record on the total figure of IDPs caused by the Boko Haram insurgents, it is reported that in 2013 alone, 300,000 people fled the states of Born, Adamawa and Yobe, out of which seventy percent of them are said to be women and children (HRW, 2014). It is also on record that in 2013 alone, 470,500 persons were displaced across communities in some parts of Nigeria due to Boko Haram insurgency and other humanitarian emergencies (HRW, 2014).
Besides, available statistics shows that Nigeria has the highest number of displaced persons in Africa which is estimated at 3.3 million people as at the year 2014 (IDMS, 2014 and NRC, 2014). The figure includes those displaced as a result of Boko Haram insurgency, communal conflicts, floods disaster and incessant clashed between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the northeast. On a global scale, Nigeria is ranked behind Syria, with 6.5 million IDPS and Colombia with 5.7 million (IDMS, 2014 and NRC, 2014). Statistics from HRW (2014) asserts that the IDPs figures have risen unprecedentedly in the preceding years due largely to increasing number of Boko Haram attacks, heavy–handed counter-insurgency and ongoing inter-communal violent conflicts in some communities across the country. For instance, the clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in states of Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Kaduna displaced 100,000 persons in 2014 (NEMA, 2015). Over the years, the growth of IDPs figure in Nigeria is quite alarming.
As at April, 2015, IDMC estimates that 1,538,982 people were forced to flee their homes in Nigeria. This figure include people displaced in as result of brutal attacks by Boko Haram insurgency, the government led counter-insurgency operations against the group, ongoing inter-communal clashes. The biggest rise in the number of IDPs was recorded in Borno state, one of the Northeastern states ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency, followed by Adamawa, and Yobe states. As at April 2015, Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessment, set up by the Internal Migration Organization (IOM) identified 1,491,706 IDPs in states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe with about six percent of this figure attributed to inter communal clashes while the remaining ninety four percent of these figure is caused by Boko Haram insurgency. NEMA recorded an additional 47,276 IDPs in Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, and Abuja Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in February, 2015 (IOM, 2015; NEMA, 2015). This brings the total number of registered internally displaced persons in 2015 to 1,538,982 in Northeastern states.
Despite the concerted efforts by the Nigerian state to contain the violent activities of the insurgents, they have extended their activities beyond northeast to even Abuja and its environs. This development indicates that more persons are likely to be displaced if urgent measures are not taken to contain the activities of the insurgents. The most worrisome is the untold hardship faced by these innocent and vulnerable groups in their new abodes. The IDPs who are lucky to be accommodated in IDPs camps are faced with threats of security as the insurgents had in many occasions beaten the security and carried out suicide bomb attacks in some IDPs camps in the Northeast. The development further exacerbates the lights of the IDPs as it exposes them to more psychological trauma and socio-economic hardship.
Worst still, the IDPs who fled to neighbouring communities are forced to begin life afresh in their host communities where they are abandoned to their fates. In their new communities, the IDPs are regarded as stranger and of course treated as nobodies by their host communities. Worst evil of all, they are exposed to severe socio-economic challenges such as starvation, accommodation, unemployment, social discriminations, sexual harassment, child labour, early marriage and its attendant teenage pregnancy. They are also faced with the problems intimidations, humiliations and other forms of social exclusions. As a result of these plights the IDPs are prone to all sorts of health challenges such as vascular diseases, malaria, malnutrition, water born diseases, and untimely deaths.
Furthermore, the displacement also affects national productivity as the youth population who constitutes parts of the productive forces of the country is also displaced. The implication is that the youth population who could have contributed to growth of the gross domestic products now stays without jobs in their host communities. More than that, the migration of IDPs adds to more sours to injury, as it compounds the already existing pressures on few available social amenities in their host communities such as accommodation, electricity, portable water, hospitals, schools and markets. This development places the IDPs on stiff competition for means of survival with their host communities such as farm lands, as good number of IDPs are predominantly farms who depend solely on cultivation of crops for their livelihoods. In most cases, some of the IDPs stay without farm lands to cultivation their crops. This renders the IDPs unproductive and as such complicates the challenges of food security and unemployment facing the country. All these challenges negatively militate against government development efforts and accounts for the continuous down wards trends in Nigeria’s development index and demand for urgent attention. Obviously, time is ripe to provide modalities for addressing the plights of the IDPs in the Northeast, with a view to ameliorate their sufferings and repositioning them to contribute meaningfully to socio-economic development of the country. It is against this backdrop that this study sets to interrogate the plights of IDPs in Northeast and to appraise the efforts put in place by Nigerian state to address the issue.
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are as follows
1.3 Scope of the study
This study covers the impacts of idp on national integration in Nigeria and it is limited to the areas where displacement exists, majorly the Northeastern side.
1.4 significance of the study
This study is significant in a number of ways among which are:
1.5 Statement of the Problem
The rate of internally displaced persons in the Northeastern Nigeria occasioned by the violent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgency is highly alarming. Even though the government has made efforts to address the plights of IDPs by providing IDPs camps, the IDPS still are facing severe socio-economic, health and environmental challenges, such as joblessness, insecurity, lack of foods and good drinking water, overcrowding and poor sanitation in their camps across the states of Northeast. This situation has in some occasions forced the IDPs to even flee the camps for their safety, an action that worsens their predicaments.
Worst still, the IDPs who fled to neighbouring communities are forced to begin life afresh in their host communities where they are abandoned to their fates. In their new communities, the IDPs are regarded as stranger and of course treated as nobodies by their host communities. They are also denied their socio-economic rights and subject to socio-economic and political control in their host communities. The situation becomes more worrisome when weighed against the backdrop of the fact that those displaced persons are predominantly the youth and vulnerable groups such as women, children and aged.
Equally worrisome is the undue pressures which the displaced persons have brought to bear on the few existing social infrastructures in their host communities. The pressures further compound and complicate the already existing bad states of the infrastructures and the standard of livings of the host communities. The situation constitutes serious sources of worries to both the governments, humanitarian organizations, academics and other critical stakeholders in the Nigerian. Despite the obvious academic questions raised by this conditions of IDPs and the need to address the puzzle and harness its outcomes for public policy making and implementation, extant studies have paid fleeting attention to this all important aspect of knowledge. The extant studies have not given deserved attention to how the IDPs could be rehabilitated and re-integrated into the society, have rather focused on how to provide temporary measures that would alleviate their plights (Lopez, 2011:IDMC, 2013;
To bridge this void, this study sets to interrogate the plights of the internally displaced persons in the Northeastern Nigeria and to appraise the efforts made by Nigerian state to bring sucour to their plights. This study, therefore, is provoked by the need for an effective policy framework to address the plights of IDPs in the Northeast. To address the problem the study raises the following question:
(1) What are the socio-economic and political implications of internally displaced persons in Northeast on Nigeria’s development?
(2) What measures should be taken by Nigerian state to rehabilitate and re-integrate the internally displaced persons in the Northeast Nigeria?
The methodology adopted in this study is a blend of historical, descriptive and analytical research methods. The historical research will allow us to describe the antecedent and precedent from the past and present and learn from them which can be purely factual and descriptive. This means invariably the source of the data will be mainly library research and content analysis. This library will involve the use of relevant textbook on the impacts of IDP on National Integration in Nigeria and other relevant books on the study.
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