The Impact of Armed Conflicts on Forced Migration Crises in Nigeria and Mali
December 25, 2022
Forced migration crises caused by non-state actors such as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram insurgency, Tuareg Armed Group, herders-farmers’ armed groups, bandits, separatists, and other local tribal militias have forced many in West Africa to flee to other countries or to become internally displaced persons (IDPs). This paper focuses on the effects of armed conflict on forced migrants in Nigeria and Mali. It finds the major causes of armed conflicts in Nigeria and Mali to be social injustice, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, poverty, illiteracy, bad governance, and religious extremism. It also finds that climate change and political instability contribute to forced migration in these two countries. IDPs in Nigeria and Mali have little to no access to basic necessities. The article finds that policymakers and local authorities are not fully committed to either returning or resettling refugees and IDPs and that most of the refugees are unwilling to return to their homes because of safety concerns. The study finds that refugees and IDPs are not integrated into the local communities due to stigmatization, which further affects their social and psychological well-being. It recommends that the governments of Nigeria and Mali tackle the root causes of armed conflicts, including poverty, religious extremism, and social injustice. These governments and other stakeholders should also ensure that the human rights of forced migrants are protected in terms of their identity and access to social services. Finally, they should ensure the safety of forced migrants who are willing to return to their ancestral homes.