THE IMPACTS OF IDP ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NIGERIA
Northern Nigeria among other regions of the country has witnessed various degrees of insecurity with its resultant effect on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), economic fortunes of the affected communities and overall standard of living of those living within the affected states. This has made security the major concern for Nigerian government and has invested huge resources to that effect. Insecurity in the north has not only prevented development of that region but also hinders foreign investment, disrupt social activities, peaceful coexistence and has become a great threat to the growth and development of the region in particular and Nigeria in general. This research therefore, examined the insecurity situation in the Northern Nigeria and its effects on the IDPs.
1.1 Background to the study
One of the contemporary challenges facing the Nigerian state is how to provide succor to the plights of the internal displaced persons (IDPs), occasioned by incessant violent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents in northeastern part of the country. Since Boko Haram insurgents began their campaign of terror against the Nigerian state in the northeast in 2009, many lives have been lost while properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed, forcing many people to flee their homes for safety areas. Obviously, the most affected persons are vulnerable groups such as children, aged and women who are exposed to severe socioeconomic and political challenges. Even though Nigerian government has made efforts to address the plights of IDPs by providing IDPs camps, there are still challenges of overcrowding, poor sanitation, joblessness and insecurity in the IDPs camps across the states of Northeast. This situation has in some occasions forced the IDPs to even flee the IDPs camps for their safety, an action that worsens their predicaments.
Although, there is no existing precise officially record on the total figure of IDPs caused by the Boko Haram insurgents, it is reported that in 2013 alone, 300,000 people fled the states of Born, Adamawa and Yobe, out of which seventy percent of them are said to be women and children (HRW, 2014). It is also on record that in 2013 alone, 470,500 persons were displaced across communities in some parts of Nigeria due to Boko Haram insurgency and other humanitarian emergencies (HRW, 2014).
Besides, available statistics shows that Nigeria has the highest number of displaced persons in Africa which is estimated at 3.3 million people as at the year 2014 (IDMS, 2014 and NRC, 2014). The figure includes those displaced as a result of Boko Haram insurgency, communal conflicts, floods disaster and incessant clashed between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the northeast. On a global scale, Nigeria is ranked behind Syria, with 6.5 million IDPS and Colombia with 5.7 million (IDMS, 2014 and NRC, 2014). Statistics from HRW (2014) asserts that the IDPs figures have risen unprecedentedly in the preceding years due largely to increasing number of Boko Haram attacks, heavy–handed counter-insurgency and ongoing inter-communal violent conflicts in some communities across the country. For instance, the clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in states of Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Kaduna displaced 100,000 persons in 2014 (NEMA, 2015). Over the years, the growth of IDPs figure in Nigeria is quite alarming.