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Nigeria and the refugees of insecurity

Nigerian Fulani herders grazing their cattle Nigerian Fulani herders grazing their cattle Today NG

26 June 2020

Ethnic clashes between Fulani and Hausa people are causing Nigerian civilians to flee from their homes as violence escalates

 In the North-West Nigeria, thousands of people are fleeing from killing attacks by “bandits” across the bordering lands with Niger. On June 26, the United Nation Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concerns regarding the deterioration of the situation in this region. As the UN agency has affirmed, more than 30,000 people have been forced fleeing from conflict-affected areas into neighbouring Niger – only in the past two months. Since 2011, about 8,000 civilians were killed while more than 200,000 were displaced due to growing insecurity, a recent report by the International Crisis Group’s denounces.

Violence in the northern region of the country has spread when armed criminal organisations and jihadist groups infiltrated the long-standing ethnic conflict between Fulani and Hausa populations, mostly herders and farmers respectively. In addition, climate-change consequences and demographic growth contributed to competition for control over the diminishing lands among the two ethnic groups. Chitra Nagarajan, a researcher on the Nigerian Conflict, explained to The Guardian that “ […] many Fulbe (Fulani) people, particularly in more rural areas, have felt not only completely marginalised from government interventions but that policies and programmes, for example the selling of grazing land, have reduced their livelihoods”. Indeed, many armed attacks and episodes of cattle rustling are generally associated to responsible belonging to Fulani communities.

The daily lives in north-western villages, particularly in states such as Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, and Sokoto, is becoming unbearable as deadly banditry incursions are expected to occur more and more frequently. Currently, the UNHCR and Niger’s authorities are working together to relocate approximately 11,000 refugees from Nigeria in safety. Even though international efforts are largely dedicated to fighting jihadist groups in the Sahel region and in the East of the country, greater attention must be drawn on the thousands of people displaced both internally and across international borders on the northern Nigerian.



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Author: Rossella Fadda

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