Boko Haram is the Islamic Militant group that has been actively taking over Nigeria since 2003. However, most of the Western world did not gain knowledge of the group until 2014, when the militants kidnapped over 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok. Boko Haram’s plans to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, which is so far working in their favor, has caused 192,000 Nigerians to seek refuge in surrounding countries like Chad, Cameroon, and Niger.
The conflict in Nigeria has become so tremendous that that country recently postponed its presidential election due to concern for the security of the citizens. The two candidates running represented the north and south; two Nigerian regions that are separated by religious views. With Boko Haram at large, it was greatly feared by former President Goodluck Jonothan that the primarily Christian south would experience some kind of treachery.
With numbers so great, the United Nations has recently launched an urgent funding appeal for $174 million to assist the misplaced Nigerian citizens. Many of the people are from the troubled North where Boko Haram reportedly controls 30,000 square kilometers on the eastern side. As the United Nations expects there will be more refugees in the future, according to U.N. News Centre, the U.N has posted an official press release regarding the appeal.
“Displaced people in north-eastern Nigeria and across borders are in a very dramatic situation, they fear for their lives, and are at this point unable to return to their homes.”
The fear for their lives is the only thing about this refugees that is not displaced. Boko Haram has reportedly killed over 15,000 since 2009. That number does not include the many deaths which occurred in the six years before 2009, when the Boko Haram issue did not have the attention of international media sources. Other characteristics of Boko Haram’s terrorism has often including abductions, rape, enslavement, sex trafficking, and violent abuse. The U.N. believes that additional funding is required in order for them to continue to help the victims of Boko Haram.
“We need more financial support to continue to help the refugees and to plan for increased aid in case of more people fleeing for safety outside Nigeria.”
The refugee crisis is reportedly causing economic instability in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. With Nigeria having Africa’s largest economy, the loss of so many citizens has hit the economy hard. The countries of refuge, on the other hand, simply do not have the resources to care for the refugees.
A recent assessment by the World Food Programme (WFP) shows 52.7 percent of the refugees were severely in need of food. Other data showed that 14 percent were moderately in need and 38.7 percent in need of food assistance showing that no refugee had results of complete food security. The United Nations Refugee Agency UNRA has released information proving that the aid agencies in the region are struggling to help the refugees which is causing a plethora of unneeded issues like sanitation, health and education. A profound statement of the official UNRA press release makes it clear that help is definitely a must for West African asylum seekers.
“Adequate funding is crucial to make sure aid agencies can improve the living conditions for refugees in asylum countries and respond to their protection needs.”
As Boko Haram has recently attacked refugee camps in surrounding countries, the appeal for funding by the United Nations may be just in time.
[Images via VOA News, Newsource, UN.org]