Operation: Opération: Nigeria



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
167,700 IDPs and returnees received civil documentation including birth registration and national identity cards which enabled freedom of movement and reduction in risks of statelessness
21,350 internally displaced households received targeted protection-based material assistance 
3,100 Cameroonian refugees issued with ID cards by NCFR to reduce risks of arrest, detention and improve freedom of movement 
2,050 internally displaced households received livelihoods and capacity enhancement support to address negative coping mechanism   
1,840 IDPs benefitted from multi-sectoral referral pathways
910 permanent shelters were constructed for Cameroonian refugees
2019 planning figures
30,000 households will receive core relief items
28,000 women will receive sanitary materials
34,000 people of concern will receive shelter support
10,000 people of concern will receive life-skills training for livelihood purposes
20,000 people of concern will receive legal assistance
65,000 people of concern will receive return packages

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 2,379,761
2017 2,379,195
2016 2,911,012


[["Refugees",34738],["Asylum-seekers",942],["IDPs",2167924],["Returned IDPs",176155],["Returned refugees",2]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[null,null,40.906967547,79.767047754,80.40000002,93.06523573],"expenditure":[null,null,21.96523424,30.61301372,30.46963491,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[null,null,1.82155943,5.94289722,13.36027901,34.6076047],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,2.831582997,30.23548234,22.89000044,27.08602015],"p4":[null,null,36.25382512,43.588668194,44.14972057,31.37161088]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[null,null,1.18809322,2.46861358,11.30156782,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,1.5415473,15.80133905,7.63509863,null],"p4":[null,null,19.23559372,12.34306109,11.53296846,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

Nigeria continues to face a complex humanitarian situation with no end in sight with the insurgency by Boko Haram fighters. Although the Nigerian military made significant gains, Boko Haram still constitutes a serious threat to security in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Towards the end of 2018, there was a surge in attacks, and at least four of the liberated six Local Governance Areas were retaken by the insurgents. Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 27,000 people have reportedly been killed, while critical civilian infrastructure and assets have been destroyed. Also, the herder-farmers conflicts in the Middle Belt (Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states) were on the increase in 2018.
The operating environment became more challenging due to violence against aid workers. In 2018, six aid workers were killed, and one abducted. The prevailing insecurity has forced the suspension of aid operations and withdrawal of humanitarians in some key locations, leaving some 823,000 people without access to basic services.
Some 32,600 Cameroonian refugees arrived in Nigeria in 2018, with the majority settling in host communities in Cross River and Benue States. Due to security concerns, the Government of Nigeria encouraged the establishment of settlements far from the border areas.
The continuous influx of returnees and overcrowding of IDP camps in northeastern states increased the risk of outbreaks of cholera, hepatitis, meningitis and measles. Freedom of movement of the civilian population remained limited, and people living in urban centres were not able to access land for agriculture, nor humanitarians managed to access remote villages beyond a small security perimeter defined by military authorities.

Population trends

By the end of 2018, as many as 7.1 million people (of which 3.9 million were women and girls) were in need of humanitarian assistance in north-east Nigeria as a result of the protracted crisis. The continuing conflict has left 1.9 million people in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states forcibly displaced. In addition, nearly 230,000 Nigerian refugees have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Since September 2017, Nigeria has been receiving an influx of Anglophone Cameroonians affected by the crisis in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon. By the end of 2018, some 32,600 Cameroonian refugees were registered in Nigeria. Out of this, 2,790 were installed and registered in Anyake settlement in Benue State and approximately 7,240 were in Adagom settlement in Cross River State. The rest of the refugees remained within host communities.
At the end of 2018, there were close to 2,140 urban refugees and some 940 asylum-seekers, the majority from the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with thirty other nationalities represented. The refugees in protracted situation are residing mainly in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo.

Key achievements

UNHCR continued to prioritize capacity building for local partners and government counterparts in order to strengthen national response mechanisms. As far as the security situation allowed, UNHCR prioritized protection by presence through field monitoring. This was implemented through local coordination groups in the LGAs. 
Nigerian returnees’ registration was established with UNHCR’s support. Throughout the year: 40,000 returnees from Cameroon and Niger were registered; 20,000 households went through biometric registration of vulnerable individuals; 2,940 people, including security/military officers, immigration officers, government officials, implementing partners, traditional leaders, were trained. The trainings covered areas, such as protection from sexual exploitation and abuse; human rights; resolution of housing and land property disputes; integrated protection programming; protection mainstreaming; GBV prevention and response; and accountability to affected population
A return strategy was developed and adopted by humanitarian community both at state and federal level. Cross-border meetings between UNHCR’s offices in Cameroon and Nigeria also improved information sharing, while go-and-see and come-and-tell visits took place.
UNHCR provided cash grants to cover food, livelihood, and shelter needs, while enhancing refugees’ self-reliance and resilience. At the end of 2018, a joint Strategic mission of UNHCR and WFP HQ officials visited the areas hosting Cameroonian refugees. It was agreed that WFP will be supporting refugees through UNHCR cash platform. The agreed joint program is to be implemented in 2019. By November 2018, cash for food was distributed to 7,580 Cameroonian refugees; cash for shelter to 2,370 refugees and vulnerable hosts; and cash for livelihoods to 1,160 refugees and vulnerable hosts.

Unmet needs

Given limited resources and limited accessibility to all LGAs, UNHCR has prioritized the most vulnerable population for protection and assistance in selected LGAs. As a result, significant proportion of the affected population could not be reached with critical interventions.
Underfunding also meant that the food and medical needs of all Cameroonian refugees could not be met. Some refugee children of secondary school age could not be enrolled in schools, leading to an increased the risk of exploitation, including sexual abuse, early marriages and pregnancies. Barriers to livelihoods and self-sufficiency included the inability to provide adequate start-up kits for skilled refugees to successfully run their business.

Working environment

The ongoing conflict has resulted into a significant humanitarian crisis and forced displacement in North East Nigeria with 6.9 million persons in need of protection services. More than 1.87 million people have been internally displaced, 97 per cent due to the insurgency. The crisis has also had negative consequences on the already fragile political and economic structures of Nigeria.
UNHCR continues with Level 1 registration of returnees from Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The majority of returnees have returned to a situation of internal displacement in North-East Nigeria, and are staying in abandoned public buildings and unorganized IDP settlements close to military camps in liberated areas. Most returnees often end up as IDPs in need of registration services and reintegration assistance, such as shelter, protection-based material assistance and psycho-social support.
Nigeria has a functioning legal and administrative framework for refugee protection. The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI), which is the government agency designated for refugee management, remains UNHCR’s main partner in refugee protection.
UNHCR’s operation in Nigeria is aligned with the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and UN Development Action Plan (UNDAP). The Government of Nigeria launched an ambitious recovery programme named the ‘Presidential Committee for the North East Initiative’. UNHCR’s operational plan is informed by the strategy and programmes planned under this initiative.
UNHCR seeks to implement a comprehensive strategy that ensures effective protection and solutions for refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs and returnees. The strategy is based on the assumption that the situation in North-East Nigeria will improve gradually and that it may take at least two more years before active military operations are finalized and full state authority re-established. UNHCR will implement the protection and solutions strategy in collaboration with various partners, including donors (bilateral and emerging donors, the private sector, and foundations); multilateral organisations including ECOWAS; UN agencies; civil society and international/local non-governmental organizations (NGOs); the media; people of concern including host community representatives.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Striving towards implementing the local integration work plan developed in 2016 and sustaining or expanding opportunities for livelihood and self-reliance of refugees;
  • Supporting the  decision making bodies and agencies through capacity-building to ensure access to asylum in a fair and expeditious manner;
  • Issuing biometric national identity and machine readable travel documents to facilitate freedom of movement of refugees;
  • Supporting the organized voluntary return in safety and dignity from Cameroon, in light of tripartite agreement already signed;
  • Conducting border monitoring, including cross border exchanges. The operationalization of tripartite agreements and protection coordination will remain crucial areas of intervention;
  • Promoting sustainable returns and reducing negative coping strategies through promoting and stimulating livelihoods and cash-based interventions;
  • For the IDPs, undertaking protection monitoring and analysis, vulnerability screening and response through establishment of protection action groups (PAGs) as well as protection-based material assistance in livelihoods;
  • Peacebuilding, access to justice, response to sexual and gender-based violence, psychosocial support and advocacy;
  • Conducting capacity-building and awareness on protection related issues; Protection /CCCM Sector Coordination in all 6 North-East States
  • Supporting people of concern with the distribution of core relief items and shelter, including through cash-based interventions;
  • Advocating for increased engagement with government and other humanitarian actors, and promote strong interactions with development actors to ensure interagency and inter-sectorial complementarity.
Latest contributions
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