IDPs in Northeast Nigeria Facing Increasingly Desperate Situation

The Aftermath of Boko Haram

Across Nigeria’s Borno state, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are living in formal camps and informal settlements. During the past few months, humanitarian organizations have begun shedding light on malnutrition and desperate need for food assistance inside IDP camps and across Borno and the rest of northeastern Nigeria. A series of reports and site visits culminated in a 23 August 2016 news release from the World Food Program (WFP) indicating that the number of people in need of food assistance in northeastern Nigeria has increased two-fold since March 2016 to 4.5 million people.

As those living in northeastern Nigeria, particularly IDPs affected by Boko Haram (BH)-related violence, wait for much-needed assistance — which has recently been hindered by BH attacks on humanitarian convoys and general insecurity — many struggle to survive off income sources such a farm labor, trade, firewood sales, and other odd jobs. Included in this is the reality that some female IDPs, in their desperation to feed their children, even sell their bodies in exchange for money.

“My husband was killed by insurgents in Marte village, and we don’t have any money to feed our children. Sometimes, men offer 1,000 Naira [3.02 USD] to sleep with us twice per day. I know that everything I am doing is for my children because we don’t have any means to survive. A few of us here think that selling our body may help our children survive.” — Female, 23, Kanuri, Marte IDP

In July 2016, Navanti bore witness to IDPs and residents across Borno State, photographing many of them as they worked to feed themselves and their families.

“My husband goes to the farm and works for other people. When they pay him, he buys food for us to eat. When he is unable to get a one-day job, we won’t be able to eat on that day because the money he gets for one day’s work cannot keep us fed for more than one day.” — Female, 39, Kanuri, Kukawa IDP

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