Armed ViolenceDisplacement & MigrationNews

80,900 Refugees From Northwest Nigeria Cross To Niger Republic In 3 Months

A United Nations report has shown that non-state actors are responsible for the increased displacement and migration of thousands of persons in Nigeria’s Northwest.

Insecurity in Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria, has displaced 71,289 persons and caused the cross-border movement of 80,900 refugees into the Niger Republic, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has revealed in a report.

The UN agency shows in the report that the massive displacement occurred from Jan. to March 2022.

According to the UNHCR, displacement resulted from violent activities of terror groups, organised crime groups (OCGs), non-state armed groups (NSAGs), and conflicts between farmers and herders in the state.

The report revealed that activities of the different groups have continued to thrive despite ongoing offensives by the Nigerian military. 

Criminal and illegal activities by the groups, such as unlawful vehicle checkpoints along supply routes and major roads in the state, have further aggravated the sufferings of locals. 

According to UNHCR partner, GISCOR Protection Monitors, there was a daily average of two illegal vehicle checkpoint (IVCP) incidents on Gandi-Rabah road, Goronyo, and Sabon Birni-Gatawa roads. 

“During the reporting period, the GISCOR team recorded 13 incidents that resulted in 67 fatalities in the state,” the UNHCR report read in part.

The report, which described Sokoto state as volatile, also revealed that in March alone, over 44 people were killed, about 23 abducted, and ransom demands totalling N14 million were made, “in addition to the looting of properties/valuables which were unquantifiable, in Rabah and Goronyo Local Government Areas (LGAs).”

Other aspects of life affected by the state of insecurity such as freedom of movement, limited of access to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) services, strained access to food, child protection issues, inadequate shelter condition, poor Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) situation due to limited access to clean water were also reviewed in the UNHCR report.

Since 2020, HumAngle has reported the insecurity ravaging Sokoto State, including the government’s efforts, albeit ineffective.

In 2021, HumAngle reported that residents of Sokoto were purchasing locally made guns to protect themselves from terrorist attacks, at the risk of jail terms associated with the Nigerian law prohibiting the illegal manufacture of firearms. 

The increasingly deteriorating state of insecurity in the state has also been explicitly explored in HumAngles Displaced by Bandits and Widowed by Bandits series.

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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