For the eight consecutive year in 2021, House of Mercy Children’s Home, Lagos, Nigeria (HOM) is undertaking actions in solidarity with conflict affected communities in the Northeast region of Nigeria by contributing to ongoing efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to children and families affected by insurgent attacks.
The protracted humanitarian situation in Northeast Nigeria has had a dramatic impact on the affected population in terms of self-sufficiency and the ability to meet their basic needs such as food, shelter and security. According to the results from Round 33 of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessments carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in August 2020, there are 2.1 million IDPs in Nigeria of whom 1,566,011 are in Borno State and 142,425 are in Yobe State, and 78% of the displaced population are children and women. 76% of surveyed IDPs cited food as their main unmet need. Furthermore, 1.7 million returnees are at various stages of the displacement cycle and lack inputs, assets and income to rebuild their livelihoods. Repeated mass displacement – 91 percent of IDPs have been displaced more than once – has negatively impacted the well-being, dignity, and security of children, women, the elderly, and persons with disabilities in the region.
According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement, an estimated 470,500 people were displaced in Nigeria in 2013 and 501,000 people in 2016. The crisis is attributed primarily to brutal ambushes carried out by an Islamic rebel group on unsuspecting and unprotected towns in the Northeast region of Nigeria, where the group wields the most power.
Insurgents are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 1,500 people in the first three months of 2014 according to the Nigerian military. Over half of those killed were civilians. The group’s terrorist tactics sparked national and international outrage in April 2014 when militants abducted about 250 girls from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State.
Frequent raids on towns and marketplaces have prompted frightened residents to flee to guarded camps or to cross into Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Families who have fled their homes to escape from insurgent attacks face the threat of hunger and untold suffering.
About half of the displaced people are children, many of whom have missed one or two years of schooling as a result of violence. Displaced children who experience protracted periods out of school are at risk of lifetime disadvantage and face the highest risks of abduction, recruitment, sexual violence and forced marriage. The concentration of problems in the region, namely high rate of poverty, vulnerability, and marginalisation is fuelling communal tensions, inter-religious clashes, intra-religious power struggles and fundamentalism emergence on which the insurgents have been capitalising on since 2013.
We are keeping hope alive for peace and security in the Northeast region of Nigeria and across the nation.
Our vision is of a peaceful African continent where every child feels safe, lives in a safe environment and is protected from maltreatment, neglect, violence and sexual exploitation.