Internal Displacement in Nigeria: What are the Preventive Measures?

Lilian Nwanyisonde Smart, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Internal displacement resulting from conflicts and disasters has increasingly become one of the major global humanitarian and development challenges. The 2021 report on internal displacement shows that the conflicts and disasters of 2020 internally displaced about 40.5 million new persons across 149 countries and the number rose to 55 million by the end of 2020. In Nigeria alone, the 2020 statistics demonstrate that about 279,000 new persons were displaced by conflicts and 169,000 persons displaced by disasters. It was noted that about $20.5 billion was spent on the 2020 internal displacement providing the displaced persons with support for housing, education, health, security, and income. While these are massive costs of assistance and protective supports geared towards addressing the needs of the displaced, it appears not to be sustainable. Therefore, it can be argued that preventing internal displacement is very important and more sustainable than focusing more on assisting and protecting the displaced. It was based on the necessity to adopt a preventive approach to displacement that a High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement was established by the UN secretary-general in December 2020. This panel was saddled with the responsibility of identifying appropriate measures to ensure financing for long-term efforts to prevent and resolve internal displacement. Against this backdrop, this study seeks to identify the appropriate measures to prevent and address circumstances that might lead to internal displacement, particularly in Nigeria. The paper adopted a semi-structured interview technique with participants carefully selected from displaced communities and those at risk of displacement. The result of the study reveals that factors such as war, oil-induced armed conflicts triggered by the uneven distribution of resources, marginalisation of some ethnic groups, disasters, and development projects constitute the central causes of internal displacement in Nigeria. Accordingly, the paper made some recommendations which include that the governing authorities and other relevant institutions should as a matter of urgency address all the triggers of war, violent ethnic, and communal armed conflicts; and that the issue of marginalisation arising from political and economic factors should be addressed. It was equally suggested that the government should strategically relocate residents in disaster-prone areas as well as take appropriate measures to reduce the impacts of disasters in the country that by so doing the risk of internal displacement will be drastically reduced in Nigeria.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRebuilding Communities After Displacement
Subtitle of host publicationSustainable and Resilience Approaches
EditorsMo Hamza, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Chamindi Malalgoda, Chathuranganee Jayakody, Anuradha Senanayake
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783031214141
ISBN (Print)9783031214134, 9783031214165
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2023


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