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Sida's work in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the West African Countries most affected by violence. The armed conflict in the northeast of the country has been ongoing for over a decade. Sida’s humanitarian aid is intended to save lives and alleviate need. One important element of this is to protect the victims of armed conflict.

The humanitarian situation in Nigeria

The conflict in Nigeria is rooted in inequalities between the north and south of the country that arose during its pre-1960 history as a British colony. Conflict in the northeast of the country has intensified since 2019, making life even more difficult for the population.

The people’s situation can be expected to deteriorate further, not least in terms of food security. The military’s strategy of focusing on some 20 strategic locations has left large areas of the country unguarded, allowing non-state armed groups to roam relatively unhindered, attacking the civilian population with devastating results. One consequence of this is that aid organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to reach those in need.

The Nigerian Army is operating alongside the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram, drawn from Nigeria, Benin, Chad and Niger, fighting against the Islamic factions ISWAP and JAS, which broke away from Boko Haram in 2016.

24,000 people are missing

The civilian population live under the constant threat of murder or kidnap; almost 24,000 people are registered as missing by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the highest total of any country in the world. More than half of these are children. Sexual and gender-based violence is also commonplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices are further weakening people’s ability to support themselves and limiting access to basic public services. Food prices have increased.

Many people have been forced from their homes by the violence; the country now has over two million internally displaced persons. While many have also fled to neighbouring countries, as the conflict has spread across borders these have their own problems with large numbers of internally displaced persons. Refugee camps are often overcrowded, increasing the risk of epidemics.

Food security is deteriorating in the northeast of the country. Many people have been stripped of their livelihoods. There is a significant malnutrition problem.

The aim of Sida's humanitarian work

The aim of Sida’s humanitarian aid to Nigeria is to save lives and alleviate need by providing urgent assistance and support to the most vulnerable. Our work is also intended to reinforce the resilience of affected individuals, identify solutions for those who have fled their homes and to contribute to increased protection from violence and abuse.

Providing food and nutrition to the country’s needy is an important focus of Swedish aid. Sida also invests in increasing protection for those in particularly badly affected areas.

Direct support to domestic organisations

The Nigerian Humanitarian Fund is a country-based pooled fund (CBPF) that plays an important role in filling gaps in international aid and for providing direct support to Nigerian NGOs. The fund was started in 2017 with support from Sida.

About the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund on the OCHA website

Support to alleviate acute malnutrition

UNICEF works to provide nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene and to protect children in Nigeria. UNICEF provides integrated support to adversely affected communities in northeastern Nigeria. Among other initiatives, children are vaccinated against measles, treated for acute malnutrition and given access to education.

About Nigeria on the UNICEF website

Protecting civilians

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supports and protects people in the northeast of the country. The ICRC also visits those imprisoned as a result of the armed conflict and reunites separated family members.

About Nigeria on the ICRC website

Supporting women and children who are victims of violence

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) works on a broad front with issues related to nutrition and health. IRC initiatives include running mobile clinics, providing nutrition to malnourished children and supporting women and children who are victims of violence.

About Nigeria on the IRC website 

Updated: 9 November 2021