Operation: Opération: Nigeria



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2016 end-year results
241,700 vulnerable people (47,300 households) received core relief items in the six states affected by insurgency and communal violence
143,800 Nigerian refugee returnees from Niger, Chad and Cameroon were registered
49,100 individuals received emergency shelter
25,800 survivors of SGBV were provided with comprehensive specialized services, including psychosocial support to promote their wellbeing
164 Cameroonian refugees were repatriated, leading to the closure of the rural refugee operation, and 27 individuals were resettled to various countries
2017 planning figures
110,000 returnee and IDP households will be provided with core relief items
10,000 temporary and transitional Shelters will be constructed and 10,000 households in liberated areas will be provided with shelter repair kits 
11,000 returnee and IDP households will be trained on basic livelihood skills and provided with start-up kits 
500 households will be provided with return assistance

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

2016 2,911,012


[["Refugees",1367],["Asylum-seekers",467],["IDPs",2219272],["Returned IDPs",689906]]
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Working environment

2016 witnessed intensified insurgency in north-east Nigeria, with civilians paying a heavy toll. The United Nations and other aid agencies have been, for the first time, target in the North-East.  The Government mobilized the military and other national security apparatus to respond to the growing internal insecurity. In addition, the government engaged in a fight against corruption while facing a decline in oil revenues and a depreciation of its currency. Over 60 per cent of Nigeria's 170 million people live in extreme poverty.

UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies individually announced Level 3 Emergency to scale-up their interventions. The Nigerian government also improved its inter-ministerial coordination by setting up a high-level committee to coordinate the humanitarian response. Eventually, the military campaign improved humanitarian access in many Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Borno State.   

Population trends

  • In 2016, Nigeria hosted almost 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly in urban settings of Lagos.
  • Despite some 671,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) returned to their communities, the number of IDPs stood at 1.8 million in accessible areas at end 2016.
  • Some 144,000 refugees returned from neighbouring countries – only to find themselves in secondary displacement situations.

Achievements and impact

  • UNHCR collaborated with national stakeholders and civil society organizations to draft a national action plan for the domestication of the convention and implementation of the Abidjan Declaration on statelessness.
  • UNHCR also provided life-saving support such as shelter and non-food items (NFIs), and worked with national institutions to ensure that IDPs and other people of concern had access to justice systems.
  • UNHCR developed practical operational standards concerning the relocation of IDPs to newly accessible Local Government Areas (LGAs) and a framework for returns in Borno State, the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency.
  • UNHCR Nigeria worked to ensure that protection was fully integrated in the activities of other sectors including Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Shelter, NFI and Food Security. The joint leadership significantly contributed to bridging humanitarian response and early recovery, while paving the way for lasting solutions and subsequent long-term development.

Unmet needs

  • The funding gap stood at 68 per cent. Consequently, less than half of the people in need received assistance.  
  • Some planned protection activities could not be implemented due to the lack of adequate funding and access of humanitarian actors to some areas.
  • The need for core relief items far outweighed the response provided.
  • Inadequate self-reliance support exposed some internally displaced women to resort to negative coping mechanisms. 

Operational context and population trends 

UNHCR’s protection and assistance strategy in Nigeria targets refugees and asylum-seekers in urban areas, as well as IDPs in north-eastern Nigeria. In line with UNHCR 2016-2018 operational strategy – developed in collaboration with the Government, UN agencies and NGO partners – UNHCR works to support Nigerian authorities who are also providing protection and assistance to people of concern.

While the number of urban refugees  has dropped significantly in recent years, with just 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers as of 31 December 2014, the escalation of violence in north-eastern Nigeria has resulted in the displacement of over 2.2 million Nigerians within the country’s borders, as well as the flight of some 180,000 other individuals to Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The security situation in the north-east remains largely unpredictable and continues to hamper UNHCR’s response. The north-central states, as well as Bauchi and Taraba, have been prone to inter-communal violence, which has also spurred further displacement.

Ongoing protection monitoring activities implemented by UNHCR partners, as well as inter-agency assessments, reveal that the protection needs of the affected populations in north-eastern Nigeria continue to rise as the overall humanitarian situation deteriorates, particularly in Borno State, where conditions remain very  challenging. Among the internally displaced, women and children make up the highest numbers and are becoming increasingly exposed to risks of exploitation, including SGBV. 

Key priorities in 2016 

In line with its 2016-2018 operational strategy in Nigeria, UNHCR has prioritized the following interventions in response to the rising number of internal displacements:
  • Provide basic emergency assistance to the most vulnerable IDPs, in coordination with Government and NGO partners;
  • Ensure protection monitoring to identify protection risks and inform advocacy initiatives;
  • Provide effective protection leadership and coordination through national and decentralised Protection Sector Working Groups (PSWG) and CCCM and Shelter/NFI clusters; 
  • Provide targeted protection services and support to community-based interventions in areas most in need of assistance; 
  • Strengthen the capacity, protection expertise, and emergency coordination mechanisms of national and local government counterparts through training, technical support and guidance, including for the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Human Rights Commission;
  • Support the development of the national legal framework through the domestication of the Kampala Convention;  
  • Advocate to develop and implement a durable solutions strategy involving the Government, civil society organizations and early-recovery and development actors.
UNHCR has prioritized the following activities for refugees and asylum-seekers in 2016: 
  • Ensure access to asylum and reduce the risk of refoulement; 
  • Identify durable solutions and secure access to self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, vocational skills training, income-generating activities and small-scale business support; 
  • Facilitate voluntary repatriation on a case-by-case basis for urban refugees and rural refugees; 
  • Enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies, as well as security and immigration services in relation to refugee status determination (RSD) to ensure fair and expedited processing of asylum claims; 
  • Advocate for the domestication of both Statelessness Conventions to reduce the risk of statelessness in Nigeria. 
Furthermore, UNHCR continues to broaden and strengthen its collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with a view to positively influence subregional policies and promote international protection for all populations of concern in West Africa.