Guest Speaker: Oladapo Kayode Opasina, Visiting Scholar, Centre for Refugee Studies
For much of Africa, particularly the West African sub-region, in spite of commendable progress in democratization, countries continue to suffer significant democratic and governance deficits in the area of security, with serious implications for human rights and democratic consolidation, and Nigeria is no exception. Lack of effective oversight mechanisms and institutions further accentuates the profound threat that poorly governed security institutions can pose to the security of citizens and ultimately, that of the state itself. In Nigeria, these deficits have paved way for terrorism to gain traction in the North, culminating in massive forced displacement of the people. Since 2009, the Nigerian state has been struggling to crackdown on terrorism on its soil, particularly due to its weak institutions and lack of political will. Meanwhile, the menace of Boko Haram has continued to generate more internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees within affected communities, and has spread to neighbouring countries like Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.
The study explores new security and migration patterns in insurgency-affected areas of Nigeria. Findings show that factors like proximity to habitual residence and existing camps both influence where refugees and IDPs migrate to. While receiving neighbouring countries struggle with the influx of refugees, they also fear that camps could become breeding grounds for terrorists’ activities and recruitments. On another hand, the Nigerian Military confirmed recently that some officers within the army sold arms to Boko Haram.
Oladapo Kayode Opasina is a visiting scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), York University, Canada. He has a Ph.D. in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability, from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy; one of Italy’s special-statute public university of excellence in Pisa, Italy. He has been a fellow at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, and was a visiting doctoral student at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, UK.