• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 2,987,000 People in Need [?]
  • 2,574,000 Moderate humanitarian conditions - Level 3 [?]
  • 413,000 Severe humanitarian conditions - Level 4 [?]

Special Reports




The Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, surging banditry violence in the northwest, incessant farmer/herder conflict in the middle belt and a growing Cameroonian refugee population in the south have all culminated into a complex country crisis for the west African giant. Boko Haram, and its break-out faction ISWAP have continued insurgent activities for over 10 years. The Nigerian military, and the African Union Multinational Joint Task Force have had to contend with suicide bombings, military garrison attacks and arsonic raids on both soft and hard targets. The insurgency has further spread to Niger, Chad and Cameroon in the Lake Chad Basin with over 1.8m people internally displaced in Nigeria alone.?

In Nigeria's northwest, activities of bandits in Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states have displaced over 160,000 internally while causing about 41,000 more to flee to Maradi in neighboring Niger Republic.?Bandits engage in killings, kidnappings for ransom, cattle rustling and sexual violence in communities already at the lower ebbs of poverty and development indexes. The discovery of gold reserves in Zamfara means that apart from bandits, security forces have to also contend with activities of illegal miners and NSAGs in the northwest.

Violence between herders (also known as pastoralists) and farmers has continued for decades in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states of Taraba, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Adamawa. Farmer-herder clashes left more than 1,300 people dead and displaced 300,000 people across the country from January-June 2018. There is a lack of recent available data on the amount of people affected by farmer-herder violence.?

The intensification of Cameroon's Anglophone crisis has pushed more than 60,000 people across the Bakassi peninsula into Nigeria.? These refugees are hosted in Nigerian states of Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River and Taraba states. Many of the refugees are in need of food, WASH, health, relief and non-relief materials.

Latest Developments


28/05/2020: Continuing banditry attacks in Nigeria’s northwest have increased internal displacement, with no corresponding humanitarian response from some of the states affected by the crisis or the federal government. In Katsina state, some 600 IDPs are living on a football field in ATC Katsina, over 400 IDPs are taking refuge in a mechanic village in Bebeji, over 360 IDPs are in Yammawa, and more than 100 are seeking refuge in Tundun Baras. Most of the displaced come from Safana, Kankara and Faskari LGAs. They have been seen on the streets begging for alms or engaging in menial jobs to survive.?Lack of relief materials, shelter or food, along with poor hygiene conditions exposes the IDPs to various risks, including exposure to COVID-19. Katsina state has recorded 335 cases and 14 deaths as of 26 May.

26/05/2020: Fire burnt through the Muna Albadawy IDP camp in Borno state on 23 May. The fire killed one person, destroyed about 622 tents, and left around 3,576 IDPs homeless. Water sources for the 9,678 IDPs living in the camp were destroyed. ?This is the 17th and biggest fire recorded in IDP camps across Borno in 2020, raising concerns of congestion and fire hazards for the 16 IDP camps located in Maiduguri, and the other 16 camps scattered across Local Government Areas in the state.

21/04/2020: A Nigerian nurse working for MSF died of COVID-19 in Maiduguri on 18 April. As he was diagnosed only after death, there is increased risk of infection for the 60,000 IDPs in Pulka village camp where he worked, and the staff of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital where he received treatment.? The lack of water and overcrowded nature of IDP camps makes it almost impossible to take undertake the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government of Borno state has instituted a 24-hour curfew to curb the spread of the virus.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Humanitarian Access


High Constraints 

Humanitarian access in both the northwest and northeast of Nigeria remains challenging due to the volatile security situation. Access to populations is limited to territories under control of the Nigerian army. In addition, heavy rains and flooding have severely disrupted local infrastructure in northeast Nigeria. Insurgents have also rendered important roads and highways unsafe due to frequent attacks. In the Middle Belt region, violent clashes in the context of herdsmen-farmers conflict continue to trigger displacement and sporadically restrict the free movement of populations. Attacks against humanitarian workers and facilities remain a threat in the northeast. Concerns about deterioration of access in the northeast emerged after the government shut down the field offices of some international aid organisations in September 2019, forcing them suspend their activities. Although the aid organizations have resumed their activities, mistrust amongst aid agencies and military personell continue to hinder smooth running of humanitarian activities in affected areas.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.


Escalation of banditry in the northwest leading to increased protection, food security and displacement concerns Latest update: 31/03/2020

No. of people affected

Current situation
Future situation


Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely


Very low Moderate Major


Banditry (village raids, kidnapping and cattle rustling) in northwest Nigeria since 2018 has led to the internal displacement of 210,000 people, and an additional 35,000 fleeing to Maradi, in Niger (UNHCR 03/2020). Activity has increased in recent months with attacks in several states including Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto and Niger. The government responded with aerial bombardments in February, killing over 250 armed men.?Escalation of the crisis is connected to the failure of an amnesty programme in October 2019 initiated by Katsina and Zamfara states. The two most powerful groups, Buharin Daji and Dogo Gedi reportedly did not participate.?It appears that some bandits accepted amnesty because the rainy season – an obstacle to their activities – was imminent. Many participated in the exchange of small arms for money and moved to other states in northern Nigeria such as Kaduna and Niger. Peace processes appearing to grant more concessions to the Fulani (more closely linked to banditry) while neglecting some of their Hausa victims is a potential aggravating factor likely to stir up Hausa/Fulani ethnic conflicts.?These concessions stem from beliefs that the Fulani ‘aggressors’ were rewarded for violence through amnesty, while the Hausas were not compensated enough for economic losses such as farmlands and crop destruction. Fears that bandits may be in contact with elements of Boko Haram and Ansaru living in the northwest adds to protection concerns for over 27 million people exposed to the violence. 


The government’s adoption of a more aggressive stance through aerial bombardment is likely to spark reprisal attacks by the bandits on civilians, raising protection concerns and leading to an increase in the number of IDPs and refugees. Security forces’ preoccupation with Boko Haram in the northeast will likely reduce the availability of manpower and other resources to combat banditry in the northwest. Disruption of agriculture will leave the affected population no longer able to rely on own-produced cereals for subsistence and commercial farming, and cattle rustling will continue to hamper animal husbandry, increasing risk of food insecurity. About 70% of IDPs surveyed in Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara previously reported insufficient food, with global acute malnutrition rates among children as high as 31%.?Some 1.4 million people in Katsina (18.08% of the state population), 452,000 people in Sokoto (8.84%) and 451,000 in Zamfara (10.02%) have insufficient food intake.?An escalation of this crisis with a disruption of livelihoods is likely to worsen nutrition levels, especially for women and children. Most INGOs are focused in the northeast and have not yet established a presence in the northwest. Continued armed attacks and government military response are likely to prevent humanitarian access, especially in the rural areas. 

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Information Gaps and Needs

  • There is a lack of data on injuries on the various crises in Nigeria.