Multiple Armed Conflicts in Gulf of Guinea Creating Refugee, IDP Crises in Nigeria, UN Battles to Pre-empt Humanitarian Disaster

The United Nations has launched a one-billion-dollar appeal that is intended to support persons affected by incessant terrorist attacks and banditry in northern Nigeria.


The crisis of insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria has caused an increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, with the government reporting that over the last one year, 5.7 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had been registered.


The increase in the number of people who need humanitarian assistance, Timescape Magazine gathered, has put pressure on the little humanitarian aid put in place by both the government and international donors to alleviate the pain and suffering of affected Nigerians.


To assist the affected people, the Nigerian government, and international organizations on Tuesday, March 16, launched a $1 billion appeal fund that is intended to support 6.5 million vulnerable people mostly living in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.


At the launch of the appeal, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon called for peace, as this would provide a lasting solution, but added that in the meantime they would appeal for aid to support those unable to meet basic necessities such as food and shelter.


“We will continue to search for a durable solution to the crises through advocacy, dialogue and peacebuilding,” he says.


Mr. Kallon adds: “The year 2021 marks the 12th year into the conflict and our 6th year of collective response to dire humanitarian needs of an immense extent.”


Mr. Kallon says that in 2020 over 3 million people were provided with basic humanitarian needs, although many more were left without aid.


The Nigerian Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq emphasized the need to use the 2021 humanitarian response plan in assistance of people affected by the crisis in northern Nigeria, as this would be one way of promoting a long-term solution.


As the main source of humanitarian aid in the country, the Nigerian federal government has designed the National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework (NHDPF) from which the 2021 human response plan is derived.


Ms. Farouq says that NHDF was developed to provide security and access to humanitarian partners. As an added advantage, the NHDPF emphasizes promoting longer-term durable solutions.


“We must always look beyond the immediate crisis, to ensure that we help people re-establish their lives and strengthen communities, so that we can reduce dependence on aid and promote resilience and self-reliance,” she says.


Islamist group Boko Haram, which operates around the Lake Chad area that includes northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad has in the past been a big cause of the humanitarian crisis in this region, but in recent months insecurity has worsened on account of disparate armed groups increasing mass kidnappings, of mostly school children and their teachers for a ransom.  


Analysts have observed that Boko Haram’s abduction of 276 girls in 2014 from Chibok secondary school, who were then taken to the forest and among other things turned into the wives of fighters led the way for the current mass kidnap of school children.


This is why players in Nigeria’s humanitarian sector are calling for investment in preventing sexual violence against children and women.


“Sexual and gender-based violence continue to pose risks in the lives of many women and girls and we must do more to protect these vulnerable ones,” says Ann Darman an advocate of the Borno State Network of Women-Led Civil Society Organizations.