Nigeria Situation: UNHCR Regional Update 01 – 31 January 2017
1,770,444 IDPs* in Nigeria
* 1.71 million displaced by the insurgency
(NEMA/IOM DTM Report, Round XIII, December 2016)
Total number of Nigerian refugees in neighboring countries as of 31 January (or latest figures available)
Total number of Nigerian returnees, including refugees from Cameroon, Chad and Niger registered by UNHCR and NIS (as of 31 January 2016)
USD 170.2 million
UNHCR requirements for the Nigeria situation in 2017
The Cameroonian, Chadian, Niger and Nigerian armed forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) continued to drive Boko Haram (BH) insurgents from their hideouts during the reporting period. With this fragmentation in their ranks, BH have intensified their attacks on commercial convoys, military barracks, villages and IDP camps. The group is also increasingly making use of suicide bombers in Maiduguri, using female bombers to target security personnel and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
On 17 January, according to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), a jet mistakenly bombed an IDP camp in Rann, in the Kala Balge LGA, which borders Cameroon. According to the NAF, 115 persons have died, many succumbing to wounds from shrapnel and debris. In addition to the loss of lives, infrastructure and houses were destroyed in the process and the event has resuscitated the debate on the safety and security implications of establishing humanitarian hubs outside of Maiduguri. The need to collaborate more closely with the Nigerian army on the inclusion of the human rights component in their rules of engagement has also been raised.
On 24 January, at the request of the Resident Coordinator (RC), UNHCR organized an inter-agency consultation in Maiduguri to initiate the development of a Protection and Solutions strategy for the six north-eastern states affected by the insurgency. The strategy, which covers IDPs and refugee returnees, will be presented at the Oslo Humanitarian conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region 24 February. In several Local Government Areas, (LGAs) IDPs and refugees are returning to areas nearer to their former homes but villages on the outskirts of many LGA headquarters remain unsafe. As of 30 November 2016, seven LGAs remained inaccessible to humanitarians, due to insecurity.
Government authorities in Adamawa and Borno have stated their intention to close all IDP camps by March and May 2017 respectively. Despite the fact that previous announcements of camp closure did not materialize, there are indications that several IDP camps and formal settlements will soon be closed. UNHCR has approached the Governors of both states to request that they allow the ongoing return intention survey and protection activities to take place.
In the Lake Chad area, military operations are ongoing to remove insurgents from the islands. Compounded with those in the Sambisa Forest, these operations are expected to create additional internal displacement but also returns of IDPs, refugees and nationals from neighboring countries. As concerns, Chad, civilians have been given a corridor to evacuate the islands. Regarding Niger, a major bridge was recently repaired and as a result, it is expected that in the three weeks there will be an increase in the number of returnees from this country. The greatest number of returns (often forced) has been from Cameroon but a noteworthy number of Nigerians are also choosing to register as refugees in Cameroon given the high levels of insecurity in the border areas and sub-par living conditions in IDP camps in Nigeria. As of 31 January, UNHCR and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) had registered 164,281 returns, including refugees.