Eight months after Niger’s Maradi region witnessed an influx of refugees fleeing killings, kidnappings for ransom and pillaging of property in Nigeria’s North West, the security situation along the border remains precarious. Violence has even spilled over into Niger, posing a threat to refugees and local communities alike, and heightening the risk of further displacements.
At the onset of the crisis, UNHCR deployed an emergency team and opened a sub-office in Maradi in September. The emergency response focused on protection and life-saving activities, including inter alia registration, protection and border monitoring, education, health, shelter and WASH services. An important component of the response was also the relocation of refugees to ‘opportunity villages’ away from the border to ensure their safety and ease pressure on the host population who generously welcomed them. This scheme contributes to developing rural areas that lack adequate infrastructure and basic services, in line with the humanitarian-development nexus, ensuring that assistance provision is sustainable and reaches the host population.
UNHCR and the Government have individually registered and biometrically enrolled a total of 35,439 refugees (9,708 households) in the Maradi region as of 31st January 2020. 23% of those registered are women, 10% are men and 68% are children. In January, new arrivals of almost 5,000 individuals have been observed in Guidan Roumdji and Guidan Sori municipalities. Continuous registration and update of the database are also ongoing. On the other side of the border, in North West Nigeria, some 210,000 people are internally displaced.