Sexual abuse thrives in Nigeria’s IDP camps with no recourse for victim


IN January 2018, Seseer Pauline, 23, fled her village in Tse-Usenda, Guma Local Government, Benue State after Fulani militant herders attacked her community. She escaped along with her mother and younger siblings to Ikpaam, an unofficial camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) that’s currently home to more than 300 households. 

Despite the government’s vow to end insecurity for nearly a decade, clashes between farmers and herders have only escalated in Nigeria’s middle belt region, especially Benue State.

In April, over 70 persons have been murdered in LGA’s in Benue by insurgents for opposing herders destruction of their farmlands said Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue states. And the situation is no different in Koshebe, Borno State where 83 rice farmers were killed by insurgents for making an effort to avoid starvation and braving the odds to go to their farms.

The conflict has displaced more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria. According to the Christian Aid Emergency Humanitarian Relief Fund, Benue alone has more than 50,000 IDPs from attacks, which have led to the loss of almost 1,000 lives. Angela’s father was killed in the siege; her other relatives are presumed either dead or missing.

In the camp, Angela and her family were helped by a man named Joseph, a man at least ten years her senior. He was able to help them get accommodation and access to food more quickly through his connections with the camp chairman.

“After that, it was as if everyone expected that I took him as my man in the camp,” Angela said.

Joseph solicited Angela for sex in exchange for his services, which, in addition to food and shelter, also included protection from other men in the camp who could potentially victimise her and her family as well.


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