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Nigeria : rising tension in the North-West

Published on Monday 26 April 2021

Already taking action in north-east Nigeria since 2009, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL now intervenes in the north-west which is affected by growing insecurity and massive displacements of population.

 

NEW AREA OF INTERVENTION

North-west Nigeria has sadly been making the headlines at the beginning of the year, after a series of mass kidnappings. Including the one from the Jangebe boarding school, in Zamfara state, during which 317 girls were abducted. These abductions for ransom add up with village attacks, murders and pillaging that the local population already has to face.

These acts of violence are led by criminal groups, mainly consisting of breeders and farmers condemning the increasing scarcity of arable land due to global warming. These groups of « bandits » (name given to these groups in the area) now also include idle youngsters who joined because of the lack of livelihood, leading to great poverty.

Community tensions have quickly resulted in criminal actions. In addition, these bandits operate next to big corridors of various kinds of trafficking, that are used by many radical armed groups active in the area.

The resulting extreme violence has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their villages and seek refuge in host communities, obligated then to share already scarce resources.

 

OUR ACTION IN THE FIELD

Since last October, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been taking action in the Zamfara State, the epicenter of the crisis. Our organization is working towards meeting the displaced populations’ essential needs, but also towards slowing down the spread of waterborne diseases as well cholera and Covid-19 epidemics, within the region.

  • 201 million inhabitants
  • 40% of the population live below the national poverty line
  • 158th out of 189 on the Human Development Index
  • 390 000 people helped

Following technical and security assessments, several projects have been implemented with the help of a local team:

  • Construction of sanitary facilities;
  • Renovation of water points;
  • Distribution of hygiene and maintenance kits and emergency shelters;
  • Raising awareness about hygiene measures
  • Distribution of non-food items (detergent, buckets, jerrycans…)

In addition, the Health Ministry of Zamfara State has requested SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s help as soon as they detected the first cases of cholera in the city of Gusau.

Our team led an operation to chlorinate the water and disinfect the affected households, their neighbors’ and the public infrastructures that had reported contaminations (schools, health facilities, gutters).

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is, with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), one of the only two humanitarian organizations present in the area. We work hand in hand to address coherently the identified needs.

For instance, our organization distributes food vouchers that allow children treated by MSF for malnutrition to have access to basic food during their treatment.

WHAT NEXT?

Our development prospects are concrete. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL now has a true legitimacy in the field thanks to its reactivity, its understanding of the local context and its strong presence on a daily basis, in close proximity with the populations. Our teams will keep developing our base in the Zamfara State and providing emergency response in the towns of Anka and Gusau. The crisis in north-west Nigeria is very real, our response must be too.

 

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Photos © SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL