Boko Haram Violence and Social Inequalities: A Sociological Exploration of Internally Displaced Persons in North-Eastern Nigeria

Emeka W. Dumbili & Ebere F. Nnanwube


Nigeria has experienced protracted violence and conflicts orchestrated by the Boko Haram terrorist group. The unbridled use of sophisticated weapons among this group has led to the extermination of innumerable lives across Northern Nigeria, the displacement of individuals, and the widening of social hierarchies. Drawing on the social conflict script, this study explores how the persistent violence/conflicts facilitate the displacement of people and create/widen social inequalities across North-Eastern Nigeria. Our analysis shows that between January and December 2017, 279,000 persons were displaced because of the conflicts/violence. Between January and June 2018, additional 417,000 persons (mostly women and children) were displaced. While the number of persons displaced is increasing, the provision of food and other essential amenities is decreasing in various Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps, where they are forced to flee. For example, between 2015 and 2016, 3.9 million people were in urgent need of food and medical supplies, but less than 20 percent of the $248 million needed was provided. The shortfall orchestrated by inadequate and/or unfavorable government policies, official corruption and mismanagement of fund provided by donor agencies, facilitated insufficient food and medical supplies. This has consequently led to malnutrition, diseases and deaths of children in the camps. As part of their coping strategies, illicit drugs sale and consumption, prostitution, child trafficking and sale of new-born babies are increasing in IDP Camps. The study argues that while these conflicts and violence create social inequalities in this region, official corruption and mismanagement of fund sustain and widen social hierarchies.

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