North-east Nigeria: an overlooked protection crisis

The north-east Nigeria crisis, now in its tenth year, has largely been triggered by a regionalised armed conflict and is first and foremost a protection crisis. Despite over 7 million people in urgent need of assistance and protection, and more than 1.8 million people internally displaced, this crisis is often overlooked by the international community and the magnitude of needs not fully understood. Together with other NGO’s working in the area, ZOA draws attention to the fact that civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict.

IDP’s at risk

From early September 2018 to mid-March 2019, a total of 130,000 persons have been displaced with over 104,000 people arriving into congested sites since November 2018. People who had to deal with attacks, killings, abductions, arbitrary detention, torture, indiscriminate targeting and excessive use of force. Many IDP’s are forced to live and sleep out in the open, exposed to the elements and protection risks, and with no access to essential assistance such as food, water, health and sanitation. With the rainy season fast approaching, a fear of a mass cholera outbreak due to overcrowded conditions and planned military operations that will further displace populations, the situation is expected only to deteriorate in coming months.

Overcrowded camps

A recent intensity of attacks by the non-state armed group and subsequent military operations have resulted in increasing displacement. Forty percent of camps in northern Borno remain over capacity, sometimes by as much as 300%. In one camp in Monguno, displaced persons are living on external space that is less than 2m² per person which is far below the international standards of 45m². Over 20,000 displaced persons are sleeping out in the open, exposed to the elements and heightened protection risks.

The NGO’s operational in the area call upon the Nigerian government to urgently prioritise and effectively ensure, with support from the international community, the protection of civilians in north-east Nigeria.

Click here to read more about our programme in Nigeria.