WIKKIDATA: Amid Boko Haram Conflict, IDPs Rely on Farming for Survival

Data from the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), show that in 37% of camps and camp-like settings in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States, farming was cited as the main occupation of IDPs.

Farming was followed by petty trade, cited in 30% of camps and camp-like settings as the main occupation of IDPs in the three Northeastern states. In 22% of camps and camp-like settings, jobs as daily labourers were cited as the main occupation of IDPs.

In 61% of the camps and camp-like settings assessed, the IDPs had access to land for cultivation. The DTM report revealed that in Yobe State, all IDPs had access to farming land, while in Borno State, only 53% of the IDPs had access to land for cultivation. This is because most of the camps and camp-like settings in Borno State are located within and close to the urban centres.

For IDPs living among host communities, farming was reported as the main occupation in 63% of the locations assessed. Farming was followed by jobs as a daily labourer, cited in 14% of the locations assessed and petty trade, cited in 11% of the locations assessed.

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In contrast to IDPs in camps and camp-like settings, in 85% of the locations where IDPs resided among host communities, IDPs had access to land for cultivation. This number was reported lower only in Borno State where IDPs had access to land for cultivation in 64% of the locations assessed.

The report suggested that this could be explained by the fact that in Borno State, many IDPs are residing in the urban centres of LGAs.

Despite the farming sector’s significant contributions to livelihood in the camps, Boko Haram insurgents halt full access to cultivating lands as they occasionally kill, abduct and also impose levies on the local farmers. This is exacerbating the hunger and hardship in the camps and causing deaths related to malnutrition.

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The activities of the terrorists in these states have displaced farming communities and hindered cultivation in the Lake Chad region.

As a result, many farmers have abandoned their farmlands, fled their communities, relocated to urban areas, or taken shelter in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Many have become unemployed and can no longer care for their families, and in some cases they have resorted to criminality, leading to a vicious cycle of poverty and insecurity.

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In Borno State, previously the largest wheat-producing state in the country, producing 30% of Nigeria’s wheat, the activities of insurgents popularly known as Boko Haram have stalled the cultivation of over 400 hectares of wheat in the area, as well as in other states in the northeast of the country.

The former President Muhammadu Buhari, before leaving his office declared “We labelled them terrorists… we are going to deal with them as such.”

Years later, the terror group still wreaking havoc on both Nigerian military personnel and unsuspecting civilians.

The Federal and State governments in the region as well as the military have been urged to tackle the menace of the insurgents and other criminality by synergizing with local vigilantes who are knowledgeable of the hinterlands and terrains where terrorists operate.


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