Internally displaced persons in Nigeria

Wonder what to do with IDP or are you a one of them? Learn more about this problem, its causes and possible solutions.

Nowadays there is a large number of problems in Nigeria and all over the world. Among  the most significant ones in this country is the issue of internally displaced persons. Internally displaced persons in Nigeria are usually the people who have been made to leave their homes but remained in their native country. Sometimes they are called (or compared to) refugees. However, they do not fall within the current legal definition of them, because they, at least, do not cross any international borders. Thus, they are still under the protection of their government (even if it was actually the reason of their runaway). Unfortunately, the quantity of such people is becoming bigger every year. Mostly it concerns less undeveloped countries, including Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and so on. However, the other ones are also liable to the problem. 
Internally displaced persons in Nigeria

Reasons and issues of IDPs in Nigeria

Now you know who those individuals are. But it’s important to understand that this flight might be done by different reasons and may have different consequences. The most common ones in Nigeria include the following:

  • Forced relocation. The title itself indicates that people have been made to relocate by means of force. This is the main reason for Nigerians to leave their households. It happens because of the terrorist groups. A very glaring example of such reason is the situation in Borno State (north-eastern Nigeria). People from many towns and villages have been forced to move to the capital city or some other place. They just had no choice.
  • Dashed hopes. It happens when people come to a particular place but do not get what they have expected. For instance, when IDPs run away and come to the other city or town it immediately gets overcrowded. The same situation has happened in the capital city of Borno State (Maiduguri). It has had its problems before but now when hundreds of so-called refugees have come everything has become even worse. Electricity, clear water, safety, and accommodation hardships have made people relocate again.
    Internally displaced persons 2
  • Health. There are regions where people (and especially children) suffer from hunger and malnutrition. It definitely has very negative influence on their state of health. Besides, some of the areas have outbursts of such diseases as malaria, cholera, typhoid, measles, polio, and so on.
    At times it is even impossible to diagnose a certain illness. People, who have already left their homes, often feel stressed and depressed. Seeing so many IDPs is psychologically hard for them.
  • Corruption. Unfortunately it’s a very often case when money which should be spent on the IDPs’ necessities are just wasted or taken by the authorities. As a result, such individuals cannot get a proper medical help, enough food, and many other essential things. Even the inspections being made by officials are used for corruption and instead of improving the situation. Thus, people keep suffering.

The other reason might be natural disasters, like flooding, etc.









800 000

IDMC (The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre)

armed conflict between the government and ethnic groups



66 000





1 100 000

UN Refugee Agency


2014 – 2015


3 000 000


sectarian conflict



434 000


armed conflict



1 538 982

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

attacks by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram



7 600 000


armed conflict

It’s obvious that the most common reason for mass relocation is conflicts (mostly armed ones). You can find the database of all the countries that have IDPs, including figures, reasons, and even the analyses of the situation.
displaced persons in Nigeria

Violence in Nigeria and in many other states makes people leave their hometowns and live in poverty. That means that only the end of aggression can improve the situation in the world.


internally displaced persons People who have become the victims need all kinds of help and protection. Let’s see whose duty it is:

  1. Government. As IDPs do not leave the country it’s a government’s obligation to give them shelters, food, and all the necessary things. However, as we’ve mentioned, it is very often appears that money are being spent on any other things or just “lost”.
  2. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). It controls and coordinates the issues of any types of refugees. Starting from 1972, they have a special program of IDPs support and rehabilitation.
  3. ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). Their aim is to relieve the suffering of those who have become the victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It doesn’t matter whether they are IDPs or those who have stayed in their homes.
  4. OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights). They guarantee international law and human rights all over the world.
  5. WFP (World Food Program). Their duty is to fight hunger and give food provisions.
  6. UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund). Their job is to help children and mothers in developing countries. They should provide long-term humanitarian assistance.

Possible IDP solution

solution for IDP in NigeriaThe best way to solve the issue is to follow certain steps. They include:

Prevention. It’s the government’s duty. Early warning and national response are required.

Raising national awareness. People need to know about the issue to help each other.

Data. To create effective programs the numbers, conditions, and locations should be taken into account.

Training. It’s important to make sure the officials are ready to give everything the IDPs need and organize camps.

Legal frameworks. Special laws for protection of such people must be passed.

Plan of action. Mechanisms should be created to coordinate all the institutions and their responsibilities in this question.

National institutions. If the internal displacement is a big problem in the country, it might be useful to create special agency or institute to deal with it.

National Human Rights Institutions. They should help the government in the creation of policies and laws.

IDPs participation. It is essential for getting effective response.

Allocation of resources. People must get everything they need.

Cooperation. International assistance is necessary to reach the results.

Internally displaced persons are thought to be one of the greatest problems in the world. The number of such people is constantly growing.

READ ALSO: Causes Of Terrorism In Nigeria

The most common reason for the relocation is various armed conflicts. However, natural disasters might also be a cause. IDPs usually suffer from the lack of proper medical assistance, resources, food, etc. To resolve this issue the government must follow particular steps. First, they should try to prevent the catastrophe. Sometimes it is impossible, so they must be ready to face the consequences. In this case, the population will suffer much less.

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