IDP Population Now 1.98m in N’East, Says IOM

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  • Ascribes increase to heightened hostilities

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-eastern states has risen to 1,980,036 due to the sustained activities of Boko Haram insurgents, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said.

IOM, the world’s leading intergovernmental organisation in the field of migration, ascribed increase in the population of the IDPs to heightened hostilities in Borno and Yobe State between January and May 2019.

The organisation gave the figure in its Round 27 Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a bi-monthly assessment of the displacement population in the North-east, focusing on Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States.

In the 27-page report that covers the period between March 25 and May 29, IOM said the DTM assessment aimed at improving the understanding about the scope of internal displacements, returns and the needs of affected populations in conflict-affected states of northeastern Nigeria.

The report noted that heightened hostilities and increased insecurities continued to restrict coverage of DTM assessments in line with the previous round of assessments that were conducted in January 2019.

In all, the report said:“1,980,036 individuals were recorded as being displaced in the affected states in Round 27, a nominal increase of less than two per cent or 31,687 individuals over the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) recorded in the last round of assessment.”

It equally provided the demographic profile of the IDPs, which showed that 192,534 IDPs were enumerated in Adamawa State;64,387 in Bauchi State; 1,467,908 in Borno State; 36,872in Gombe State; 85, 332 in Taraba State and finally 133,033 in Yobe State.

In addition to its demographic profile, the report claimed that at least 56 percent of the IDP population in the North-east fell within the 0-17 age bracket; 37 percent within the 18-59 age bracket and seven percent between 60 and above.

It observed that reasons for displacement remained unchanged compared to Round 26, noting that the ongoing conflict in North-east Nigeria continued to be the main reason for displacement (93 percent – up from 92 percent).

Specifically, the report noted that the displacement “was due to communal clashes, which led to the displacement of 7 per cent of the interviewed individuals. The state of Taraba showed the highest number of displacements due to communal clashes during Round 27.”

However, the report said the figure “is lower than the number of displaced persons recorded in Round 25, which was carried out before the onset of the current escalation of violence in October 2018, when a significantly higher number of Local Government Areas (LGAs) and wards were accessible.

The report said: “Round 25 identified 2,026,602 IDPs which was in-keeping with the steady increase in number of IDPs observed over the last few months. In August 2018, the number of IDPs identified was 1,926,748.

“Prior to this, a two per cent increase was recorded in the 23rd Round of assessment compared to Round 22 (published in April 2018). The number of returns has also been on the increase. The most-affected state is Borno State.

“Borno State continues to host the highest number of IDPs, with 1,467,908 IDPs residing in the state as per Round 27 DTM assessments. The total number of IDPs observed in Round 27 is a two per cent increase or 32,091 IDPs from the 1,435,817 IDPs that were recorded in Borno during Round 26.

“With this increase, the total number of IDPs in Borno is now nearly the same as the number recorded in Round 25, published in November 2018. The number of people displaced has increased between Round 26 and Round 27, this could be linked to the increased insecurity in this area.

“Additionally, this figure is not complete as it is missing those LGAs which remain inaccessible due to the security situation. Within Borno, populous LGAs like Kala/Balge, Kukawa and Guzamala could once again not be assessed due to insecurity.

“In Round 25 assessment, which was published before the recent decrease in accessibility, Kala/Balge had recorded 76,389 IDPs while 13,521 displaced persons were recorded in Kukawa and 1,845 in Guzamala. Within Borno, populous LGAs like Kala/Balge, Kukawa and Guzamala could once again not be assessed by DTM due to insecurity.

“In Round 25 assessment, which was published before the recent decrease in accessibility, Kala/Balge had recorded 76,389 IDPs while 13,521 displaced persons were recorded in Kukawa and 1,845 in Guzamala,” the report said.

The report, however, noted that Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) in Borno, the capital city, which hosts the highest number of IDPs among all LGAs in North-east Nigeria, saw a reduction in number of IDPs.

The report said the reduction “is a rare occurrence given that it is the favoured location for displaced persons due to the high concentration of humanitarian actors and humanitarian aid.

“Round 27 recorded a reduction of 10,838 IDPs in MMC, bringing the total number to 252,217 compared to 263,055 recorded in Round 26. The total number of displaced persons recorded in MMC during Round 25, published in November 2018, was 234,045.”

The report cited some of the key reasons for this reduction including people who returned to their place of origin in order to be able to vote during the recent elections but have stayed back and not yet returned.

The report observed that some displaced persons have moved to other locations due to the closure of sites or poor living conditions and some others have made their way to other states like Bauchi and Kebbi States.

It said the other LGA in Borno that saw “a marked reduction in IDP numbers was Nganzai. As per the latest assessment, the LGA had 35,922 IDPs, which is 1,051 less than the 36,973 IDPs counted in the previous round of assessment.

“The main reason given to explain the decrease was the relocation of IDPs to Monguno and other locations due to poor living conditions and frequent fires.”

On the other hand, the report said LGAs like Damboa recorded “a substantial increase in the number of IDPs due to new arrivals as a result of the escalation of violence. The number of displaced persons went up by 11,628 from the 96,747 IDPs recorded in the previous assessment in Damboa.”