Extreme levels of violence and destruction have characterized the on going insurgency in North East Nigeria. The conflict between the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Boko Haram group has widely affected the population in the states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba. As the conflict intensified, women, girls and children have disproportionately been affected and the prevalence of gender-based violence has drastically increased. Reports indicate that over 40% of the health care infrastructure has been destroyed by the conflict raising serious reproductive and other health concerns for women and girls. The humanitarian needs for life saving Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) interventions are identified as needing urgent attention and prioritization beyond what the current response is able to meet.
Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the most affected states are located in the Lake Chad basin that is experiencing environmental changes and looming famine thereby leaving 1.4million people struggling with food insecurity. In Borno, as the rainy season approaches, there is looming situation of floods that threatens to cut off some Local Government Areas (LGAs) from accessing humanitarian assistance. This is in addition to disease outbreaks such as measles, meningitis, lasser fever and the potential for cholera outbreak during the rainy season as well as other crisis triggers such as the fire outbreaks in Konduga that affected thousands of people. Women and girls pay the heaviest price during such crisis situations as their coping capacity is over stretched in a context where the conflict has weakened and eroded the protection systems leading to their increased vulnerability to abuse and violence. The potential to minimise the risks of and vulnerability to GBV and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and provide quality multi sector care for survivors is critical.
The release of 82 Chibok girls: On 7th May 2017, as the sun was setting and the evening dawned, Nigerians especially in the northeast were graced with the news of the release of 82 former Chibok schoolgirls by the Boko Haram insurgent group. This followed a long period of negotiation between the Boko Haram militants and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, also facilitated by key actors such as the ICRC. Of the 276 girls kidnapped on the night of 14–15 April 2014, 57 escaped in the immediate aftermath and 219 girls were taken as captives and went through several forms of violence including forced marriage, rape, physical and emotional violence among others. The Federal government initially secured the release of 21 former Chibok schoolgirls in October 2016 and rescued 3 others during different operations. While all the 106 returned former Chibok schoolgirls are now receiving rehabilitation under the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMoWASD), supported by key partners like UNFPA, UNWomen and UNICEF; the GBV SWG continues to advocate for the unconditional release of thousands of women and girls that have been abducted and are still being held captive by the Boko Haram.
Population Movements: Reports of population movements due to different triggers such as military operations and spontenous refugee returns continue to raise key gender protection concerns especially for women, girls and children. On 31st May 2017 for instance, IOM, MSF and OXFAM confirmed a total of 1.083 (150 men, 224 women, 322 boys and 387 girls) new arrivals to Pulka alone. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps such as Pulka, Banki and Gwoza have been overwhelmed with huge numbers of new arrivals and are at risk of over congestion. Key resources in these areas have been over stretched and IDPs lack basic necessities such as water, food and shelter among others. While some few GBV partners are working to meet the unique gender needs of the IDPs, the Inter Sector Working Group (ISWG) has estimated that about 20,000 IDPs require relocation.
Heavy Rains & Sand Storms: Heavy rains and sandstorms in the month of MAY completely destroyed 294 emergency shelters, 27 Makeshift shelters and partially damaged 241 emergency shelters in 20 IDP sites. The damages affected a total of 3,429 individuals across eight IDP sites in Jere, five IDP sites in Kaga, three IDP sites in Konduga and four IDP sites in Maiduguri. Among the facilities destroyed include women and adolescent girls safe spaces and Reproductive Health including family planning facilities.