Academic journal article Journal of Sociological Research

Issues of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Sociological Research

Issues of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper evaluates the state of internally displaced persons in Nigeria. Paramount objective of the paper anchors on examining the quantum leap and systemic loss of lives and properties in the country in recent times. The study elicits its information gathering using an ethnographic approach, a semi-unstructured interview was purposefully conducted on some of the survivors of bomb attack on UN building at Abuja who are resident of Lagos, victims of displaced persons that experienced devastating floods that destroyed their homes and properties, relations of some of slain youth corps members that equally reside in Lagos were interviewed. The study heavily relies on authoritative and valid secondary sources of data - National dailies (Nigeria Tabloids), journals, articles etc. on the desk type of research. The major findings of the study revealed neglects on the part of the State apparatus (government) in ensuring better, effective and functional policies. Its magnitude is capable of threatening national cohesion of the country and endangering high rate of internally displaced persons across the country. The study concludes that given the magnitude and complexity of crises of internal displacement, these are inimical toward the discourse "Development". This affects the country from achieving Millennium Development Goals - goal number eight (8): rights to safety of lives and properties as equally enshrined in other international treaties - choices to healthy, creative life and to enjoy a decent standard of living, freedom, dignity and self-respect and the respect of others. This argument is adjudged valid, given the empirical instance of poverty, inequality, unprecedented levels of bomb blast across the country and above all displacement vis-a-vis what development connotes.

Keywords: Refugees, Displaced person, Internally Displaced Persons, Sustainable-Development, Social-welfare

Introduction

The plight of displaced persons has in recent years become a formidable problem of global significance and implications (Ladan, 2001). The total number of displaced persons is currently estimated around fifty million worldwide, with the majority of these people in Africa and Asia. Displacement across the country is a common result of both communal violence and internal armed conflicts. While some of the conflicts appear to be caused by religious or ethnic differences, benefits of a political, social and economic nature are generally behind the violence in the country with endemic poverty, low levels of education and a huge and alienated youth population. Nigeria regularly experiences displacement as a consequence of natural disasters such as flooding or soil erosion. Nigeria has been affected by recurrent internal conflicts and generalized violence since the end of military rule and the return of democracy in 1999. The systematic and overlapping patterns of inequality in the country have been described as "breeding grounds" for conflict (Okpeh, 2008; CRISE, 2007).

As a result, the country is faced with the ongoing challenge of responding to fluctuating but always sizeable internally displaced population. Nigeria is made up of a web of ethnic, linguistics and religious, social groupings. Conflicts have been triggered by disputes over access to land, kingship, cultural, residual citizenship and broader questions of identity. Identities have been particularly important in the shaping of both the political and social arena in Nigeria both during colonial and post-colonial times. Under British colonial rule, religious, ethnic and regional differences were given prominence, which eventually exacerbated divisions between Muslims and Christians, Northerners and Southerners, and Hausa - Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo groups (Okpanchi, 2010). Such differences, particularly between people considered indigenous to an area and those regarded as settlers, became instrumental after independence in the manipulation of identities for political ends (Jega, 2000). …

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