The well-being of children is threatened by multiple protection risks such as child marriage, family separation, physical and sexual violence, psychosocial distress, use and recruitment by non-state armed groups in northeast Nigeria; cross-sectoral risks compound these. Overall, limited access to food, quality education, healthcare, and lack of adequate parental care, particularly for children with disabilities and information, continues to significantly affect the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of children. This is significantly so for 1.7 million children (41 per cent girls, 59 per cent boys) living in locations with limited or no core child protection services and community-based prevention and response to protection risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has further weakened coping capacities for families to provide and care for children; poor households in north-east Nigeria face increased difficulty in accessing food as food prices and annual inflation increase, and food availability is expected to decrease. Protection risks are heightened for girls, mainly, adolescent girls who are most at risk of sexual violence and because of the pandemic, are also at a high risk dropping out on education opportunities amongst denial of realization of other rights.
Children under the age of 18 years comprise more than 61 per cent of the IDP, returnee and other populations affected by the humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria; one out of two affected children are girls (55 per cent). Displaced girls and boys living in camps and girls and boys living in host communities are most vulnerable to protection risks, representing 37 per cent and 36 per cent of the children in need respectively. The majority of the children in need are in 17 LGAs across BAY States. The majority of the children in need in Borno are those living in Damboa, Jere, Maiduguri, Magumeri and Ngala LGAs are highly impacted; Similarly, whereas in Adamawa, the majority are children residing in Madagali, Michika, Mubi South, Yola North and Yola South, while Yobe, the majority of children in need are those in Damaturu, Geidam, Gujba and Yunusari are at higher risk.
Adolescent girls, particularly those in camps and host communities, face the highest risk of sexual violence within the community, violence by armed groups including abduction, killing and rape deny the realization of their rights, particularly the right to education. Boys aged 13-17 years are significantly at risk of conflict-related violence including abduction, killing and recruitment and are also at risk of child labour as a coping mechanism to support household incomes. Vulnerable parents and caregivers constitute 7% of the total persons in need of protection services.