The geopolitical zones of North Central and North West in Nigeria have been affected by a multidimensional crisis — one that is rooted in historic ethno-social cleavages — that rekindled in 2013 following the degradation of socioeconomic and environmental conditions. The crisis accelerated in January 2018 with the intensification of attacks, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of individuals. At the end of 2018, one million individuals had been displaced. While many of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been able to return, hundreds of thousands remain displaced due to lack of security and fear of being attacked enroute or upon their return.
The crisis in North Central and North West is multifaceted and multidimensional. It includes long-standing conflict between ethnic and linguistic groups, tensions between nomadic pastoralists (transhumance), territorial dispute and sedentary farmers, attacks by criminal groups on local populations and banditry/hirabah (kidnapping and grand larceny along major highways). These tensions cross-cut religious cleavages especially in the State of Plateau (North Central). The crisis continues to displace populations regularly in the states of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau (North Central), and Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara (North West).
Disputes between herders and farmers are one of the key phenomena in this crisis. Nomadic pastoralists (transhumance) and sedentary farmers historically cohabitated in the region, with herders accompanying cattle along transhumance corridors. These corridors cut through farmland, in search of water points and grazing lands. In recent years, as water source and pastureland availability has declined, transhumance routes have increasingly encroached onto farmland. This resource competition raises tensions between herders and farmers, often leading to violent clashes.
Another major phenomenon in the affected regions are communal conflicts pitting ethnic and language-based communities. These tensions date back to the division of the country into states, which separated ethnic and linguistic groups by administrative boundaries. It often resulted in the forced cohabitation of often antagonistic groups. Tensions over resources and land, exacerbated by climate change, have escalated into communal conflicts that displace significant numbers of people.
IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) was first implemented in Nasarawa and Abuja in August 2015. After the crisis in North West and Central Nigeria escalated in early 2018, providing support to affected populations became paramount. As a result, IOM broadened the reach of DTM to the entire affected area, to assess the numbers and trends of displacement, and gain insight into the profiles, needs and vulnerabilities of displaced populations. The information collected seeks to inform the government of Nigeria — as well as the humanitarian community — with an improved understanding of population movement and displacement in the two zones. Likewise, it aims to better inform the humanitarian response and relief provision for the affected populations.
Round 4 of DTM data collection in the North West and North Central geopolitical zones were conducted between 27 July to 8 August 2020. During the assessments, DTM deployed teams of enumerators to conduct assessments in 689 wards (up from 686 wards that were assessed in the last round of DTM assessment or Round 3 that was conducted in December 2019) located in 159 LGAs (up from 157), in the North Central and North West geopolitical zones. Eight states were covered including Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau (North Central) and Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara (North West).
In addition, DTM enumerators conducted assessment in 1,278 sites (no change from the number of sites assessed in the last round of assessment) that included 1,214 locations where IDPs were residing with host communities and 64 sites categorised as camps or camp-like settings across the eight affected states. In the last round of assessment, 1,222 sites located in host communities and 56 sites termed as camps or camp-like settings were assessed. During these assessments, data was collected on living conditions and multisectoral needs of displaced populations.