Boko Haram Insurgency and Internal Displacement in North-Eastern Nigeria: An Assessment of Humanitarian Responses in a Challenging Environment

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Abba Gana SHETTIMA, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
Since the onset of insurgent activities by of the Nigerian grown terrorist group known as Boko Haram in 2009, the North-East of Nigeria has been seriously devastated by the insurgency. By 2014, the insurgency had reached its peak with an estimated 2 million people displaced from their towns and villages, in addition to tens of thousands of deaths. Public infrastructure particularly schools and hospitals as well as civilian dwellings were destroyed across the region. Livelihood activities including farming and commerce were disrupted. However, beginning from the second half of 2015, the insurgency was gradually contained and Boko Haram was pushed out of large territories it had hitherto controlled. Yet, Boko Haram remains largely undefeated despite claims to the contrary by the Nigerian government and the huge and foreboding humanitarian crisis created by the insurgency is still ongoing. It is considered as one of the greatest prevailing humanitarian crises in the world today. In Borno State, the epicentre of the insurgency, hundreds of thousands of people are still in offically designated Internally Displaced Camps, informal camps and host communities. These Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) including widowed women and children orphaned by the conflict, are largely catered for by international humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and agencies of the United Nations, in collaboration with local and federal emergency relief agencies. Despite the efforts of both the local and international humanitarian agencies, many of the internally displaced people are still exposed to debilitating hunger and disease conditions. The paper assesses the key factors affecting the effectiveness of the humanitarian agencies within the context of global and local level challenges including shortfalls in global financing of humanitarian activities. Local specific factors, in particular, the prevailing warped public opinion about international NGOs in the North-East and poor governance are also interrogated.