Displacement & MigrationNews

Hunger, Unemployment … IDPs In North East Nigeria Rank Their Biggest Worries

The survey conducted by the IOM and partner organisations also gauged what the IDPs in the region think about resettlement and integration. Thirty-seven per cent said they preferred to return to their place of origin, but most of them were not sure how soon.

The vast majority of internally displaced people in northeastern Nigeria have identified hunger and inadequate nutrition as their biggest concerns.

This was noted in an ‘intention survey’ conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), released on Thursday, May 9. The study was done in collaboration with Nigeria’s National and State Emergency Management Agencies, the National Bureau of Statistics, the Nigeria Red Cross Society, and other humanitarian non-governmental organisations.

The survey featured 183 questions posed to over 25,000 displaced households spread across the six states in the region: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.

The aim, IOM said, was to gather and analyse data that can provide a nuanced understanding of the needs and mobility of displaced populations so that decision-makers and humanitarian actors can provide proper assistance and work towards long-term solutions.

IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck said, “The publication of this report jointly prepared with Federal and State agencies as well as humanitarian partners in the north-east is a testament to our collective commitment to data-driven decision-making and underscores the necessity of listening to the voices of the displaced in the formulation of policies and interventions.”

The report revealed that 90 per cent of the respondents believe hunger and insufficient nutrition to be most pressing problem. This is followed by unemployment, lack of furniture, challenges with housing conditions, and challenges purchasing clothes.

The survey, which was conducted between November and December last year, also gauged what the IDPs think about resettlement and integration. 

Thirty-seven (37) per cent said they preferred to return to their place of origin, but most of them were not sure how soon. Their reasons included a lack of employment and livelihood opportunities where they currently reside, a lack of basic amenities, the need to reunite with their families, and improved security in their ancestral home. Many of them further said they have delayed returning to their communities due to financial constraints, a lack of economic opportunities, insecurity, and a lack of basic services such as healthcare and education.

Most of the IDPs said they would return to the communities if their safety could be guaranteed (53 per cent) and if they had access to food (36 per cent), a livelihood (22 per cent), and their home (22 per cent). They were also concerned about their civil rights, access to agricultural tools, the presence of security forces, financial compensation for lost property, and so on.

Forty-one (41) per cent of the respondents said their original houses have been completely destroyed and need rebuilding while 36 per cent said they have only been partially damaged.

Meanwhile, another significant portion (38 per cent) said they intend to integrate into the communities they have found themselves, citing better security, the loss of everything in their home community, economic opportunities, and better services.

Also, only 2 per cent of the respondents expressed an intention to relocate to another local government area or state.

The report concludes that these findings “emphasise the importance of addressing economic, security, and logistical barriers to enable IDPs to make informed choices about their futures and to support their aspirations for sustainable solutions to displacement”.

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Usman Abba Zanna

Usman is a multimedia journalist covering conflict, humanitarian crises, development, and peace in the Lake Chad region. He is also a media and conflict management consultant.

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