Terrorism; Leading Cause For The Rising Displacement Of Persons In Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria. February 17th, 2015 – A Special edition poll conducted by NOIPolls in partnership with Social Welfare Network Initiative and Africare has revealed ‘Terrorist attacks’ (75 percent) as the most leading factor responsible for the displacement of persons in Nigeria besides other factors. More findings revealed that while cases of IDPs may not be common in some parts of Nigeria, awareness of the phenomenon is not limited to regions with high cases of IDPs as about three-fourths (73 percent) of the adult population are aware of the cases of IDPs in Nigeria.  In line with this, almost half (49 percent) of the respondents who showed awareness of the cases of IDPs have either had a personal encounter or have seen cases of IDPs in Nigeria.  This is mostly true for the North-East region (98 percent) given the current state of insecurity in this region; moreover, some of the respondents testified they were IDPs themselves, although poll results did not capture the actual proportion of respondents in this category.

Findings also show that awareness on the cases of IDPs in Nigeria may not necessarily be through personal experiences (but through other means such as the media) as most respondents from the Southern regions who showed awareness have minimal experiences with cases of IDPs. An assessment of the visibility of IDPs to Nigerians revealed that about one-third of the respondents who have experienced cases of IDPs confirmed they have seen between 16-20 IDPs in their locality within the past three months, while a significant proportion of respondents from the North-East and North-West zones indicated above 50 persons. Respondents also confirmed that the IDPs are mostly seen in ‘People’s homes’ (57 percent) compared to ‘Resettlement camps’ (27 percent) and other. Finally in the rise against the growing cases of IDPs in Nigeria, the vast majority of the Nigerians irrespective of gender age and geo-political zones would support the introduction of a law to protect the rights of IDPs in Nigeria. These were some of the key findings from the IDPs In Nigeria Poll conducted in the week of February 9th 2015.

Brief Background

According to the Guiding Principles of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees on Internal Displacement, internally displaced persons are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.[1]

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), reported that there were 33.3 million internally displaced people in the world with 12.5 million IDPs in the 21 sub-Saharan countries at the end of 2013, translating to more than a third of the global total. Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan had the largest populations of IDPs in Africa, and were closely followed by Somalia and the Central African Republic (CAR). Figures provided by the Nigerian government on internal displacement for the first time since the commencement of IDMC’s monitoring, escalated the overall figure for the region by 3.3 million from 10.4 million at the end of 2012; thus placing Nigeria  at the top of the chart with the largest IDP population in the region.

Several factors have led to the displacement of persons across the various regions in Nigeria. In the South-South region, Rivers, Bayelsa, and Delta states which are considered to be the core of the Niger-Delta region have been the scene of violent competition for political issues and oil wealth. A number of reported IDPs in this region has varied from 1,000 people sheltering in schools and hospitals to about 10,000 residents believed to have fled and unable to return to their homes. On the other hand, the incessant terrorist attacks from the Islamic group Boko Haram as well as several communal and religious clashes in the Northern parts of Nigeria especially the North-East region, have led to the death and displacement of thousands of people.

Against this background, NOIPolls in partnership with Social Welfare Network Initiative and Africare, conducted a special edition poll on IDPs in Nigeria. The poll sought to measure the awareness and knowledge of Nigerians on cases of IDPs and the factors mostly responsible for the displacement of persons in Nigeria, as well as gauge the support of Nigerians on a law that protects the rights of IDPs in Nigeria.

Key Findings

Respondents to the poll were asked seven specific questions. With the aim of assessing the awareness of Nigerians on IDPs, respondents were asked:  Are you aware of the cases of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria? While the issue of internal displacement may not be common in some areas in Nigeria, awareness of the phenomenon is not limited to prone areas as findings revealed that about three-fourths (73 percent) of the adult population are aware of the cases of IDPs in Nigeria.  In line with this the majority across all regions showed awareness of the phenomenon with the highest level of awareness seen in the North-East (98 percent) and North-West (86 percent) zones. This is not surprising as these areas have witnessed persistent terrorist attacks over the years.

Awareness on the issue of IDPs may not necessarily be through personal encounter, but it could range from media to word of mouth as the case may be.


[1] http://unhcr.org.ua/en/who-we-help/internally-displaced-people

 

Respondents who showed awareness on the cases of IDPs in Nigeria (73 percent of the total) were further asked: Do you personally know/have you seen any case of IDPS in your locality? Findings revealed that almost half (49 percent) of the respondents who showed awareness of the cases of IDPs have either had personal encounters or have seen cases of IDPs in Nigeria.

Further analysis revealed that while most residents of the Southern regions are aware of the cases of IDPs in Nigeria they have had minimal encounter with cases of IDPs. On the other hand, at least half of the residents of the Northern regions have either had a personal encounter or have seen cases of IDPs with the highest experiences recorded in the North-East regions (98 percent).  It is pertinent to note that some of the respondents from this region were IDPs themselves although poll results did not capture the actual figures.

Again these findings are not surprising given the current state of insecurity in the Northern regions of Nigeria especially in the North-East region, thus resulting in the high occurrence of cases of IDPs in this region than other regions. For instance, a recent report released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), identified Yobe state with the highest recorded cases of IDP with (125,991) this is followed by Adamawa state with 123,601 IDPs, and Taraba with 81,790 IDPs. These figures are not definite as the report revealed that some wards were excluded due to security reasons from the assessments conducted as part of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) program.[1


[1] http://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/Country/docs/The-IDP-Situation-in-North-Eastern-Nigeria-DTM-December-2014.pdf

 

Subsequently, respondents who personally know or have seen cases of IDPs (49 percent of the total) were asked:On average, how many internally displaced persons do you personally know/have you seen in your locality in the past three months? Overall, about one-third of the respondents who have experienced cases of IDPs confirmed they either personally know or have seen between 16-20 IDPs in their locality within the past three months, this is followed by 19 percent who confirmed between 5-10 IDPs and 16 percent who indicated above 50 IDPs. On the average respondents confirmed seeing 25 IDPs in their localities.

Analysis based on geo-political zones revealed that a larger proportion of respondents from the North-East, North-West, South-South and South-West zones indicated between  16-20 IDPs while a significant proportion of respondents from the North-East (24 percent) and North-West (18 percent) zones indicated above 50 persons.

 

Respondents who either personally know or have seen cases of IDPs were further asked: Where do you personally see Internally Displaced Persons in your community? This question required multiple responses meaning that respondents were allowed to indicate as many options as possible.  Poll results revealed that more than half (57 percent) of the respondents indicated they personally see IDPs in ‘People’s homes’. This is mostly true for the South-West (74 percent), North-West (67 percent) and North-East (55 percent) regions. This finding therefore suggests that a larger proportion of IDPs in Nigeria are not found in resettlement camps but in people’s homes, especially around neighboring communities.

Other locations indicated by respondents include ‘Resettlement camps’ (27 percent), ‘Streets’ (22 percent) and‘Uncompleted building sites’ (17 percent). In addition findings reveal that there is a high presence of IDPs in resettlement camps in the North-East region as almost half of the respondents from this zone claim they see IDPs in resettlement camps.

 

Furthermore, respondents were asked: In your opinion, what are the factors mostly responsible for the displacement of persons in Nigeria? This question also allowed multiple responses and findings revealed that‘Terrorist attacks’ (75 percent) topped the chart as the major factor Nigerians believe is mostly responsible for the displacement of persons in Nigeria. This cuts across gender, age and geo-political zones although this position was strongly held by respondents from the North-East (95 percent) and the North-West (89 Percent).  This finding therefore validates the findings of IOM which revealed that IDPs in the North-East have been displaced because of the insurgency (77.1%); a smaller number was forced to leave their homes because of community clashes (22.4%), natural disaster or other reasons (0.5%).[1]

Other factors cited by respondents of the poll include ‘Flood’ (18 percent), Communal/Ethnic conflicts (17 percent) and ‘Religious conflicts’ (11 percent) among other factors.


[1] http://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/Country/docs/The-IDP-Situation-in-North-Eastern-Nigeria-DTM-December-2014.pdf

 

 

To assess the support of Nigerians on the protection of the rights of IDPs, respondents were asked: Would you support the introduction of a law to protect the rights to Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria?Overall the vast majority of the respondents would support the introduction of a law to protect the rights of IDPs and this cut across gender, age and geo-political zones.

 

In conclusion, the poll results revealed that 73 percent of Nigerians are aware of the cases of IDPs in Nigeria and of this proportion, 49 percent have either had personal encounters or have seen cases of IDPs in Nigeria. More findings revealed that about one-third of the respondents who have experienced cases of IDPs confirmed they either personally know or have seen between 16-20 IDPs in their locality within the past three months with an average of 25 persons, while a significant proportion of respondents from the North-East and North-West zones indicated above 50 persons. Poll results also revealed that more than half (57 percent) of the respondents indicated they personally see IDPs in ‘People’s homes’; this is mostly true for the South-West (74 percent), North-West (67 percent) and North-East (55 percent) regions. Other locations indicated by respondents include ‘Resettlement camps’ (27 percent), ‘Streets’ (22 percent) and ‘Uncompleted building sites’ (17 percent). 

An assessment of the factors mostly responsible for the displacement of persons revealed ‘Terrorist attacks’ (75 percent) as the major factor mostly responsible for the displacement of persons in Nigeria. This cuts across gender, age and geo-political zones, although, this position was strongly held by respondents from the North-East (95 percent) and the North-West (89 Percent). This is followed by ‘Flood’ (18 percent), Communal/Ethnic conflicts (17 percent) and ‘Religious conflicts’ (11 percent) among other factors. Finally, while there may be little or no control over natural factors such as flood leading to IPDs, conscious efforts have to be made by the government in collaboration with other stake holders especially security agencies to curb manmade factors (terrorist attacks) leading of the displacement of person especially in the Northern parts of Nigeria; while establishing a laws to protect the rights of IDPs in Nigeria.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of February 9th 2015.  It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited in partnership with Social Welfare Network Initiative and Africare to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document.

Africare is one of the most experienced and largest African-American led non-profit international development organisations, and a leader in development assistance to Africa. Africare centers its development approach around active community participation and partners with local organizations to ensure institutional strengthening and capacity building.

Social Welfare Network Initiative is a national Community Systems strengthening network of civil society organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). It is a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-governmental organization (NGO) with individual membership of over 1,000 and 600+ community-based organizations, groups and stakeholders in the 36 States of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory; engaged in prevention, treatment, impact mitigation, care and support for HIV/AIDS (ART, eMTCT, HBC, HCT, OVC, PLHIV), TB, FP/RH and Malaria, Eye care/blindness prevention mechanisms, Vaccinations/Immunizations, Preventing/Controlling Poverty-Related Diseases; Nutrition and Food Security; Energy and Environment; and Empowerment, Gender, Good Governance, Security/Social Justice, Women/Girl Rights and Human Rights.

Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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