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1.1.Background to the Study
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are persons or groupsof people who have been forced or obliged to flee or leavetheir homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as aresult of, or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflicts,situations of generalised violence, violations of human rightsor natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossedan internationally recognised state border (United Nations Commission onHumanRights, 1998 as cited inOwoaje, Uchendu,Ajayi,& Cadmus, 2016). As of 31st May, 2018, UNCHRreported that there were over 40 million displaced people in over 128 countries of the world (UNCHR, 2018a). According to the report, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. Another report from the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018), stated that Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 5.5 million of 40 million displaced persons, followed by the Middle East and North Africa with 4.5 million.In Nigeria, Cameroun and Niger alone, there are over 2 million persons who have been displaced as a result of insurgency, with some 203,899 persons being displaced as of 28th, February, 2018 (UNCHR, 2018b).
The alarming figures and the consequent enormous humanitarian crisis of the IDP phenomenon have continued to arouse the interests of scholars, governments, non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens around the world.To this end, studies aimed at understanding and improving the living conditions of the IDPs before their eventual relocation to their homes and communities. As an example, in investigating the living conditions of 212 internally displaced women in Dafur, Western Sudan,SaifandAbdalla(2010) found that health and social services such as sanitation,job opportunities, shelter (tents), clean water, and schools were not sufficientand thatthe amount of food distributed was considered insufficient by the vastmajority of participants. In establishing the informationneeds of IDPs in IDP camps inBorno State, Nigeria, Sambo (2017) reported that medical, food and shelter were not readily available for the majority of IDPs in the area.
Other studies (e.g., Frerotte, 2015;Lafta, Aflouk, Dhiaa, Lyles& Burnham, 2016;McGadney-Douglass &Ahadzie, 2008) have also attempted to investigate the influence of gender on access to the available relief materials and other services provided in IDP camps. Frerotte (2015) in her ethnographic study of formerly conflict-displacedwomen returnees in the Gulu province of the Acholi district,Northern Uganda, found that gender significantly influenced access to aids supplied at the camp as women were particularly deprived of food.Additionally, other studies have also identified the influence of age on the living conditions of IDPs and their access to basic amenities. For example, Khan (2014) in his explorationof the current nature andrange of health services availability to IDPs living in camp in Afghanistan according to their sex and age, found that children and old age people were affected themost by infections and diseases among many age groups while women in reproductive ages sufferedmore due to reproductive health issues as compared to men.Other studies (e.g.,El-Khani, Ullph, Peters, &Calam, 2017;Sirin, Plass, Homer, &Vatanartiran, 2017;Uyan-Semerci, &Erdogan, 2017) also painted a gloomy picture of children’s inability to access basicneeds such as education in camps.
In accessing the already scarce resources at IDP camps around the world, studies such as that of Adewale (2016) in his qualitative study of the challenges of IDPs in Abuja, Nigeria, found that accessing adequate food, shelter and safe drinking water was becoming increasingly difficult for the majority of the dispersed population following their displacement by the dreaded Boko Haram.Other factors inhibiting access to quality life in the Nigerian IDP camps include: sexual abuse and exploitation,the lack of national ID documents and, hence, difficulties in proving nationality, which was widespread in the areas of the Lake Chad Basin, affecting people’s access to safety, services and justice andlarge scale cross order movement (UNCHR, 2017). Similarly, Abdulazeezand Oriola’s (2017) study of 3 IDP camps in Northern Nigeria showed that hoarding, diversion and theftof relief materials, embezzlement of funds meant for IDPs, useof ghost IDPs, sexual and gender-based violence and humantrafficking and other forms of violence were challenges faced by IDPs in the area.
Also of great concern, are the effects of the aforementioned challenges on the psychological, biological, social and political existence of internally displaced people.To this end, studies (e.g., Amirthalingam&Lakshman, 2014;Ejiofor, Oni&Sejoro, 2017;Owoajeet al., 2016;Salah et al., 2014) have attempted to identify the attending consequences of the crisis of IDPs in a variety of ways. For instance, Ejiofor, Oni andSejoro (2017) in their assessment of the impact of IDPs on human security in Northern Nigeria found that the crisis of IDPs hindered immensely the developmental process of the region. In a similar study conducted at welfare camps in Sri Lanka, Amirthalingamand Lakshman(2014) found that displacementhas had a statistically significant negative impact on their livelihoods and that agriculture-based livelihoods were special because these were the most affected. Further to this, Salah et al. (2012) found that participants reported high prevalence rates of mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, social phobia and post traumatic stress disorder) in both urban and rural IDP populations inSudan, indicating a need to explore the circumstances for these high rates and to develop appropriate responses.
The complex situations summarisedabove continue to leave much responsibilities on the shoulders of affected nations to respond to fluctuating but large numbers of IDPs. As with most affected countries coping with the devastating impacts of displacement, the living conditions of people living in IDP camps in Nigeria is worrisome. The recently published controversial report of the Amnesty International indicting the Nigerian Army depicts the realities of life in some of the IDP camps in Nigeria. The human rights group reported that displaced women confined to remote camps have been forced to become “girlfriends” of military in exchange for humanitarian assistance, adding that thousands have died of starvation due to lack of food in the camps (Iroegbu, Ogunmade&Alike, 2018).A year earlier (2017), the Nigeria chief of army staff, TukurBuratai had ordered investigation into similar allegations inBama IDP camp inBorno State (The Cable, 2017). These alleged incidences have cast great doubts on the political will of the Nigerian government in running an ideal IDP camps. It has also thwart international and other NGO efforts aimed at providing the people with the needed relief materials and other basic amenities.
Despite the growing attention on the humanitarian crises in IDP camps in Nigeria, research focusing on the living conditions, availability andaccess to relief materials and other services is scarce.The importance of evidencebased solutions to the many problems highlighted should not be understated.Therefore, empirical knowledge of the living conditions of IDP camp members is valuable for improving intervention programmes aimed at enhancing the quality of life of displaced persons as well as helping to inform the decision-making of policy-makers and other stakeholders in Nigeria. Consequently, the study attempts to examine availability and access to relief materials among the IDPs in Bama IDP camp, Bama LGA, Borno State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughconflict and natural disaster hold no lesserclaim to the fundamental human rightsthan those living in stable situations (Austin, Guy, Lee-Jones,McGinn&Schlecht, 2008).Regrettably, IDPs do not get to enjoy majority of these rights even in times of relative peace.More worrisome is the trauma experienced by thesevictims who are not adequately protected by the state agencies and as a result, lack accessto health care, accommodation, food and social security (Adenitan, 2016). Although research is scanty on the availability of and access to relief materials and services, studies like that of Saif and Abdalla (2010) have found that health and social services such as sanitation,job opportunities, shelter (tents), clean food, water, and schools were not sufficient for majority of IDPs inDafur, Sudan. Similarly, Owoaje, Uchendu,Ajayi,and Cadmus (2016) who examined a contemporary discourse on the plight of IDPs in camps in the FCT Abuja, found that even though, government agencies directly responsible for the welfare of IDPs were not committed to their tasks, religious organizations and other bodies made reasonable efforts to supply relief materials to the affected persons. However, the authors noted that access to such materials and services were marred with inefficiency in distribution among other factors. Although empirical studies on the subject matter are emerging, little is known concerningaccess to and the availability of relief materials and services in IDP camps in Nigeria in general and Bama IDP camps in particular.
Studies have also been conducted in a bid to understand the influence of gender (e.g.,Adewale , 2016;Awadalla, 2014;Cagoco-Guiam, 2013;Owoaje at al., 2016; Singh, K. P., Bhoopathy, S. V., Worth, H., Seale, H., &Richmond, 2016;Nidzvetska et al., 2014) as well as age categories (e.g.,El-Khani, Ullph, Peters, &Calam, 2017; Sirin, Plass, Homer, &Vatanartiran, 2017; Uyan-Semerci, &Erdogan, 2017) onIDPs’ access to relief materials and services in camps.For instance, in his examination of the challenges faced by IDPs in Abuja,Adewale (2016) found that while women were more vulnerable to criminal activities than men, each time food and other items were given to the IDP communities, women generally did not receive their share of the supplies because male criminals overpower them leaving them with nothing.However, in another study conducted among IDP communities inKassala State, Eastern Sudan, Awadalla (2014) found that both men and women in the study camps were vulnerable in terms of access to farmland. Nonetheless, the study found that while females had little access financial services, they could not make decisions on important issues in the camp. While there have been mixed outcomes with regards to issues of gender and access among IDPs, the available studies are foreign to the socio-cultural context of Bama IDP camp. This study attempts to add to knowledge in this regard.
Studies examining and investigating the influence of age on access and living conditions in IDP camps exist. One such study is that of Reach Initiative (2015) which found that in comparison with adults IDPs, younger IDPs (particularly children) had less access to formal education, food and other basic amenities in IDP camps across Iraqi governorates. According to the study, “The lack of formal school attendance is particularly concerning, as few children are receiving alternative forms of education: attendance in informal education is 2% or less in all assessed governorates across all age groups and genders” (Reach Initiative, 2015, p. 25).Khan (2014) also found that children and old age people were affected themost by infections and diseases among many age groups while women in reproductive ages sufferedmore due to reproductive health issues as compared to men in IDP camps across Afghanistan. As in the previous paragraph, these studies cannot be said to reflect the social realities of IDPs inBama camp, hence the present study aims to add to knowledge in this regard.
Regarding the various challenges faced by IDP communities; empirical studies (e.g., Abdulazeez&Oriola, 2017;Adewale, 2016; Owoaje et al., 2016) have helped to identify the following:inadequate food supply, lack of shelter and safe drinking water, sexual abuse, criminality in camps, lack of commitment on the part of government to provide basic amenities in camps, hoarding, diversion and theftof relief materials, embezzlement of funds meant for IDPs, useof ghost IDPs, sexual and gender-based violence and humantrafficking and other forms of violence were challenges faced by IDPs in the area.While these problems have been systematically identified by authors in different IDP camps across Nigeria for instance, none of these problems can be ascertain as a burden inBama IDP camp, hence the need for the present study. As to the effects of the identified challenges on the lives (i.e., psychologically, biologically, socially and politically) of IDPs,studies (e.g., Amirthalingam&Lakshman, 2014; Ejiofor, Oni&Sejoro, 2017; Owoajeet al., 2016; Salah et al., 2014) have helped to broaden scholarly understanding to this effect.For instance,Ejiofor, Oni andSejoro (2017) in their study of IDPs in the Northern region of Nigeria, identified the political implicationof the IDP phenomenon on the entire peoples of the region. According to them, the crisis ofinternally displaced persons hinders immensely the developmental process of the region. While most of the studies, especially those conducted in Nigeria, have examined the effects of the IDP crisis on the victims and the society in different dimensions, little is known with regards to those living inBama IDP camp, hence the need for this study.
Theneed to come up with lasting solutions to the many challenges of the IDP communities is urgent, most especially in the Northern region of Nigeria. For any solution to e proffered, there is need to understand issues regarding availability of relief materials and services, how the people in the camp access these services, the challenges they face in accessing these services, the effects of these dynamics on their lives (in different dimensions) and their preferred solutions to their unfortunate circumstances.As a consequence, this study aims to examine the availability and access to relief materials among the IDPs in Bama IDP camp, Bama LGA, Borno State, Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
The following shall be the questions that this research work seeks to answer:
1. What are the types of relief materials and other services available for IDPs in Bama IDP camp?
2. What is the influence of gender on IDPs’ access to relief materials and other services inBama IDP camp?
3. What is the influence of age on IDPs’ access to relief materials and other services inBama IDP camp?
4. What are the challenges affecting availability and access to relief materials and other services in Bama IDP camp?
5. What are the psychological, social, health and economic effects of displacement on IDPs in Bama IDP camp?
6. What are the preferred solutions to the negative effects of displacement on IDPs and the challenges of availability and access to relief materials and other services and in Bama IDP camp?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is toexamine the availability and access to relief materials among the IDPs in Bama IDP camp, Bama LGA, Borno State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study aims to achieve the following:
1. Identify the types of relief materials and other services available for IDPs in Bama IDP camp.
2. Find out the influence of gender on IDPs’ access to relief materials and other services inBama IDP camp.
3. Find out the influence of age on IDPs’ access to relief materials and other services inBama IDP camp.
4. Examine the challenges affecting availability and access to relief materials and other services in Bama IDP camp.
5. Investigate the psychological, social, health and economic effects of displacement on IDPs in Bama IDP camp.
6. Identify the preferred solutions to the negative effects of displacement on IDPs and the challenges of availability and access to relief materials and other services and in Bama IDP camp.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is significant because of its theoretical and practical relevance. In theoretical terms this study will serve as a test of concepts, hypothesis and theories that may in turn lead to advancement of further theories on how to improve supply of relief materials and services as well as access to not only IDPs in Bama camp but also other IDP communities in other camps across the world.
In practical terms, the findings of this study are expected to provide important grounds for policy recommendations and implementation, intervention strategies and further research endeavours. First, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), other responders and policy makers may find the result of this study useful as it is hoped to provide a strategic blue print for intervention programmes on issues concerning IDPs in Nigeria. As for the government, the study is expected to stimulate interests on issues concerning the plight of IDPs by providing the needed impetus for eventual community re-integration of IDPs back to their community and the re-building of insurgency ravaged communities.This is hoped to guide the implementations of policies and intervention strategies that will improve the living and health standards of IDPs in the area. Moreover, by being explicit and emphatic about the methods and processes of this research undertaking, the final report of this study will allow researchers to evaluate, and if they so wish, conduct their own research so as to check if they arrive at similar conclusions or results.
1.6. Definition of Terms and Concepts
Access:It refers to the means or an opportunity in which physical, psychological and social benefits becomereachable to everyone on an equal basis despite their individual and other differences. For this study, it will refer to the levels ofopportunities with which IDPs benefit from relief materials such as food, shelter, etc, and other services such as healthcare, security, education, skill acquisition among others.
Age: a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity(Dictionary.com).For this study, age is conceptualized as the number of years respondents in the IDP camps have spent since birth. For ease of analysis, respondents shall becategorised into anyof the three levels: ‘children and adolescents’, ‘adults’ and ‘old people’.
Availability: This refers to the suitability and readiness of something that is meant to be used or utilized. For this study therefore, it means presence, suitability and readiness of provided relief materials as well as other services in the IDP camp under study. Availability is further measured by perceived level at which the relief materials and other services were or weren’t present, suitable and ready for people’s use.
Basic amenities:This refers to things considered to be essential to make life easier and more pleasant. Examples are roads, portable water, electric power supply,food, healthcare, education, etc. For this study, it refers to benefits from relief materials such as food, shelter, etc, and other services such as healthcare, security, education, skill acquisition among others.
Gender:This refers to theroles, responsibilities and expectations of men and women that are created in our families, our societies and our cultures (UNESCO, n.d). For this study, gender is understood as the roles, responsibilities and expectations of male and female IDPs and how they (roles and responsibility) influence access to relief materials and other social services in the camp under study.Gender here, is examined in terms of how the roles, responsibilities and expectations of being a male or female affects access.
Internally Displaced Persons:This refers to the coercive or otherwise involuntary character of movement—that is, movement caused by armed conflict, violence, disasters, and the like; and the fact that such movement takes place within national borders (Ferris, Koser& Williams, 2008). For this study, it refers to all those who have been forced to move out of their homes and communities to liveinBama IDP camp as a result of the Boko Haram crises.
Relief materials: It refers to all goods and servicesprovided in the form of humanitarian aid to persons and communities who have suffered from some form of disaster. It also involves dealing with and avoiding risks and preparing, supporting, and rebuilding society when natural or human-made disasters occur (New World Encyclopedia, 2018). For this study, it means, those goods, such as food, shelter, electricity, etc, and other services such as healthcare, security, education, skill acquisition among others provided to IDPs in the camp under study.
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