The UN humanitarian coordination office has said that more than 80,000 Nigerians have been forcibly displaced since November 2018 due to ongoing violence in the north-east, adding to two million people already displaced by violence, or forced across the country’s borders as refugees.
In 2018, relief organizations had estimated that 7.7 million people required urgent life-saving assistance but a recent upsurge in clashes between non-state armed groups and the Nigerian military is forcing UN agencies and their partners to reassess the needs on the ground. A 90-day plan is in the works to ratchet up the response especially across the worst-affected state of Borno to meet the immediate needs of an estimated 312,000 men, women and children.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, sounded the alarm on Tuesday over a recent new influx of Nigerian asylum seekers and refugees in Chad. Since 26 December, when the town of Baga on the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad, was attacked by a non-state armed group, around 6,000 have been forced on the run. Many of them paddled for three hours across the water to arrive in the lakeside Chadian village of Ngouboua, some 20 kilometers from the Nigerian border.
UNHCR and the Chadian authorities are carrying out registration and pre-screening of new arrivals to evaluate their needs. An overwhelming majority of the new arrivals are women and children and, according to initial information, about 55 percent of them are minors.
The UN is urging all parties to the conflict to protect civilians as well as civilian construction and infrastructure, and to uphold international human rights and humanitarian law.