Conditions continue to worsen in oil rich Nigeria as the Boko Haram insurgency continues in Nigeria’s three northern states. Tensions between Muslims and Christians in the country are at an all-time high and now the government is reporting that as many as 3 million Nigerian citizens could be at risk of suffering from a humanitarian crisis.
As many as 250,000 people have been displaced since January, and Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned that the crisis could quickly boil over and that resources are running thin.
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While Nigeria is an oil-rich state and can absorb some of the costs, resources could quickly run out. Meanwhile, with aid agencies and national governments across the globe struggling with tight fiscal environments, help from the international community could be quite constrained.
Nigeria Government yet to crush Boko Haram
The principal Islamic group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, continues to operate despite extensive efforts by the national government to crush the militant group. Last year President Luck declared a state of emergency in the three northern states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe with hopes that expanded powers could help the government bring the crisis under control.
So far, the governments efforts appear to be failing as attacks have actually increased in recent months. Militants have been used rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles to mount attacks on entire towns. Thousands of people have been displaced as they have fled the fighting, and Boko Haram militants have plundered whatever was left behind.
Boko Haram is not limiting its targets to the army or chasing civilians a way. Last month, the group launched an attack on a remote boarding school in Yobe, killing 29 people, including students. Boko Haram has been waging its war since 2009.
Red Cross claims crisis unprecedented
Representatives of the Nigerian Red Cross have claimed that the amount and extent of displacement within the country is unprecedented. According to the Red Cross, Nigeria has never seen internal fighting or displacement on this scale.
While the fighting continues, the Nigerian government has claimed that its tactics are working. The state of emergency has allowed the government to geographically contain the Boko Haram and so far the group has failed in its efforts to create a strict Islamist state in Northern Nigeria.
In the meantime, however, hundreds of thousands have already been displaced and millions more are at risk.