Stand with the Displaced: Victims of the Boko Haram Insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria

Original Content provided by Tam Kemabonta

Courtesy of "War is Boring".com

Courtesy of "War is Boring".com


The Players

Boko Haram: The Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad), an extremist Islamist group popularly known by the global and local media as Boko Haram in North East Nigeria whose goal is the establishment of an Islamic state in Nigeria and abolish anything that has to do with western education.

Internally Displaced People (IDP): The over 2.3 million people that have been displaced from their communities and homes because of the Boko Haram scourge since 2009.

Nigerian government: After delayed responses the Nigerian government after losing territory almost the size of Belgium to Boko Haram, has started making advances on the Islamist group. Currently the government has driven Boko Haram back to their strong hold – Sambisa forest – located 60 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri in Borno State.

Humanitarian Agencies: Boko Haram has left death and disaster in its wake, leading to humanitarian crises of unfathomable proportions. Thus far, Humanitarian and emergency relief has been coordinated by various international and local organizations. Some of these organizations include the Nigerian red cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), UNICEF, etc.

Courtesy of Real News Magazine

Courtesy of Real News Magazine

The Background

Boko Haram has left dead and disaster in its wake since 2009. The Islamist was formed in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri Borno state. The core political principle of the group was establishing an Islamic state and denouncing western education. In fact, “Boko” which in Hausa means “fake” and Haram which in Arabic means “forbidden” could be loosely translated as “Western education is forbidden”. Due to the poverty that ravaged northeast Nigeria Yusuf was able to recruit many youths disenchanted with the corruption inherent in the Nigeria government. 

In 2009 Mohammed Yusuf was captured and extra-judicially killed by Nigerian security forces. Abubakar Shekau became the leader of the group. Under him Boko Haram’s taste for blood became insatiable. With porous borders that facilitated illegal arms trade and corruption within the Nigerian military the group was able to build a formidable army that controlled territory the size of Belgium at the heights of its power. Boko Haram became a global sensation after it kidnapped 276 were kidnapped from their dormitories at the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State. 

On the 13th of November 2013, the U.S. State Department added Boko Haram to it’s list of terrorist organizations and the UN security council includes the group in its sanction list on the 22nd of May 2014. 

On the 7th of March Boko Haram pledges allegiance to ISIS, the Islamist terrorist group that controls areas of Iraq and Syria. On the 12th of March ISIS accepts Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance, leading to name change: The Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).

With over 6,644 deaths to its credit in 2014, Boko Haram became the deadliest terrorist group in the world according to the Global Terrorism Index 2015 report by the Institute of Economics and Peace. The group has been responsible for the deaths of over 20000 people and displaced over 2.3 million leading to a Humanitarian crisis in the country.

Currently, as a result of successful offensive attacks by the Nigerian military Boko Haram controls very little territory in north-eastern Nigeria, and has defaulted to the guerrilla-styled terrorist attacks it was known for in its early days. 

Courtesy of "War is Boring".com

Courtesy of "War is Boring".com


The Story

With over 2.3 million people displaced as direct result of the Boko Haram insurgency Nigeria is facing its worst humanitarian since the Civil war in 1970. 

Nigeria is already a poverty-stricken country. With about 90% of its population living on less than $2 a day and ironically having the largest economy in Africa it might just a matter of time before the country hits full scale state failure. 

In fact, according to the Fragile State Index 2016 report published by the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine Nigeria is number 11 on a scale of 1 – likely to fail and 178 – completely sustainable; earning itself the position of "High Alert". 

The government currently keeps displaced peoples in camps. The coordination of this is handled by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The situations in these camps is dire. According to a 2016 report by the protection sector working group (PSWG) sector in partnership with the UNHCR Nigeria there have been reports of food, water and shelter insecurity. The healthcare and safety of the IDPs are in jeopardy. Multiple cases of sexual abuse, exploitation and rape by the IDP males and figures of authority against IDP girls and women, leading to underage forced marriages of the girls by their family to their abusers and underage pregnancies have been reported.

UNICEF estimates that as many as 75,000 children would die 2017 from severe acute malnutrition, diarrhea, respiratory diseases, measles, etc. According to the Fund’s Nigerian nutrition chief, the severity of the humanitarian crises currently in north-eastern might be the worst in the world.

The Coordinator of the 2017 UN Humanitarian Response Plan, Peter Lundberg said "Due to the competing crises around the globe requiring the attention of international donors, the narrative on the humanitarian situation unfolding in North East Nigeria was largely missed in 2016 but it has now reached proportions that can no longer be ignored. The oil crisis had a knock-on effect creating a deep recession in Nigeria and the 

Government is battling to cope with a downward spiraling economy. "

Boko Haram Victims Relief, was a Canadian non-profit corporation that had to call it quits in February 2016, as they “were unsuccessful in raising significant sums of money for victims of Boko Haram.”

One is led to ask if the world is sleeping. How could this be allowed to happen? The IDPs need all the help they can get, and it is in the interest of the world to answer this call for help. 


Join the #iStandWithTheDisplaced movement today.