Internal displaced persons

Climate change isn’t something people get to choose to believe or not: it’s happening. Since pre-industrial times, human-caused climate change has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that has led to an average temperature rise of over 1 degree Celsius on Earth. The next four decades have each been successively warmer than the decade before it since 1850. We are observing a warming atmosphere and changing climatic conditions worldwide as a result of climate change, which has serious consequences for our physical environment.

In 2021, the intergovernmental panel on climate change report sounded a red alert for humanity. It stressed how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. This left no room for doubt. The record concentration levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are unequivocally due to human activities rooted in the burning of fossil fuels. The goal of 2015 Paris agreement aims to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. But at the current trajectory, the world is on, we are at risk of falling significantly short of these targets. According to the World Meteorological Organization, in 2020, the global mean surface temperature was 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times. 2020 was also one of the three warmest years on record.

The impact humans have had on the climate has, and continues to, alter nature. We are inching closer and closer to ecological tipping points, many of which are irreversible. Changes in extreme weather are affecting every region of the world, making heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts more frequent and severe. This rise in global temperature aggravates the rate at which sea levels are rising, corals are bleaching, the ocean acidifying, biodiversity is being lost and heat waves, tropical cyclones, and fire-related events are taking place. Delicate ecosystems like small low-lying island states, semi-arid and arid areas, and arctic and tundra environments face a greater threat of climate change. However, the environment does not exist in a vacuum and neither does human society.

Everything is interconnected. Every single way in which climate change impacts our environment has a ripple effect that will manifest in the short, medium, or long term. As a threat multiplier, climate change puts us at risk of reversing the gains in growth and sustainable development made in the last few decades. This indicates that the effects of climate change are manifest throughout our social, economic, cultural, and political fabric in addition to affecting our weather patterns and physical surroundings. The way people feel the impacts of climate change and respond to it is determined by multidimensional and intersecting inequalities. If you think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money. (Guy McPherson)

The climate crisis disproportionately affects women and girls as they tend to rely more heavily on natural resources, public services, and infrastructure. They are restricted to and very seldom controlled. They are also less represented in decision-making in general, so climate responses are no different. These processes are influenced by the very same socio-economic and cultural norms that discriminate against women and girls in other areas. When it comes to specific climate change impacts, women and girls are particularly affected in at least five areas: food security, water availability, health, gender-based violence, and climate-induced displacement and migration. Women play a critical role in global food security. Many smallholder farmers are women whose livelihoods and food sources are at risk from climate change. In addition, male-dominated structures often govern land ownership, making it hard for women to access the fertile plots that they require to produce food for their survival and that of their families.

Also, climate change is intensifying water scarcity, which adds to women’s time burden as it is often their responsibility to collect fresh water. In addition, high temperatures and salinization of sources of drinking water have a detrimental impact on maternal and child health. Linked to this, the increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, cholera, and typhoid increases the risk of pregnant women contracting these diseases. This, combined with unequal care burdens, can disproportionately pressure women and girls to support their families. These demands on women are further intensified during disasters when the risk of sexual and gender-based violence is greatest. Child and forced marriages, as well as increased human trafficking, can occur as a harmful coping mechanism among those who suffer the most from climate change-related economic stress. These challenging economic conditions forced families out of their communities and most of the time, those displaced are women. As we can see, it is those who are least responsible that often bear the brunt of the most adverse effects of climate change. This can further deepen existing inequalities and affect the ability of women and society at large to manage and recover from the impacts of climate change. As former US President Barack Obama once said that “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it”.

The fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces has received regional and international attention since its outbreak on the fifteenth of April, especially as it threatens the security and stability of a fragile region.

The main players on the regional and international arenas did not hesitate to intervene in the conflict, whether directly or indirectly.


Egypt has a long-term interest in Sudan’s stability, given the two countries’ common border and the strategic importance of the Nile River.

Egypt actively participated in the mediation between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, addressing the two parties to contain the crisis and reach a cease-fire agreement. Egypt’s primary motive is to prevent a large-scale civil war in Sudan, which could lead to an influx of refugees and negatively affect water security in Egypt.

And if the clashes in Sudan prolong and widen, this will also affect the trade partnership between the two countries, especially since an estimated part of Sudan’s agricultural and animal exports reach the Egyptian market, including what is re-exported to other countries in light of the sanctions imposed on Sudan.


Ethiopia has concerns about the expansion of the Sudanese conflict, its extension, and the repercussions of that on stability in the region.

And as a neighbor of Sudan and a major player in the Nile River Basin, it has an interest in ensuring that the conflict does not escalate. In addition, the ongoing tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan over the disputed Al-Fashqa region and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) make Ethiopia a stakeholder in Sudan’s stability.

Saudi Arabia and the Emirates

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have played an important role in Sudanese affairs, particularly in their support of the Rapid Support Forces. Both countries provided financial and military assistance to these forces, especially since they were the pillars of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war, where Sudanese soldiers, most of whom were from the Rapid Support Forces, participated on the side of the coalition in the fight against the Ansar Allah Houthi movement, which strengthened the capabilities of the Rapid Support financially and militarily.

In addition to this, the UAE is interested in gold, in which the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hamedti), has large investments in it since the ousted President Omar al-Bashir granted him the rights to excavate it in Jabal Amer so that he could pay the salaries of his soldiers.

It is also possible that Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s support for the RSF was motivated by the two countries’ quest to counter Iranian influence in the region while maintaining a strong military presence in the Horn of Africa.

International players

United State

The United States expressed its concern about the situation in Sudan, and called on its Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who made phone calls with the army commander, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and with the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, during which he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two parties.

Earlier, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said that the United States is in close contact with Sudanese military leaders and is pressing them to extend the ceasefire, and to explore options for restoring Sudan’s diplomatic and consular presence as soon as possible.

It was reported that the United States is currently studying the idea of imposing sanctions on members of the army and the Rapid Support Forces, although observers of the American affairs say that these sanctions will be useless if imposed by Washington and that it is too late to take such a step.

These observers and Sudanese and international human rights activists say that the United States does not want to impose any sanctions in Africa, and they add that if it wanted to do so, it would have imposed sanctions on the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces following the dispersal of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, 2019. In the same context, they point out that Washington did not impose sanctions on the Ethiopian leadership in the war against the Tigray region, which lasted two years and resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 people, in addition to the US preoccupation with the war in Ukraine.

The United States’ interest in Sudan’s stability is likely driven by its broader strategic goals in the region, including combating terrorism, promoting democracy, and curbing the influence of China and Russia on the continent.


Russia’s interference in Sudanese affairs is more limited, as it formally focuses mainly on providing military assistance and training to the Sudanese army.

This support is consistent with Russia’s broader strategy to increase its influence in Africa and secure access to natural resources. It is noteworthy that the Rapid Support Commander visited Moscow in the last week of February 2022 in an eight-day visit that sparked widespread controversy, as there was talk at the time about the possibility of granting Moscow A military base in Port Sudan.

Therefore, Russia’s role in Sudan has been criticized by some Western countries, which argue that it will exacerbate tensions between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, especially since a close relationship linked the Russian Wagner Group and Rapid Support in the field of armament, training, guarding, and the gold sector.

Although the group and the RSF commander were quick to deny any role they had in the current fighting, the US CNN said, quoting Sudanese and regional diplomatic sources, that the Wagner Group is providing the RSF with missiles to help in its fight against the army.

The sources said that the surface-to-air missiles greatly enhanced the combat capabilities of the Rapid Support Forces.

CNN added that satellite images detected an unusual movement in Wagner bases in Libya, neighboring Sudan, reinforcing these allegations, as Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Wagner, controls swathes of Libyan territory.

It is noteworthy that the European Union imposed sanctions on Wagner’s branch in Sudan, after investigations revealed the group’s role in gold exploitation.

The Wagner Group played a central role in Moscow’s foreign military campaigns, specifically in Ukraine, and was repeatedly accused of atrocities. In Africa, Wagner contributed to the growing influence of Moscow and the seizure of resources.


China has adopted a more cautious approach to the conflict in Sudan, seeking to maintain a balance between its economic interests and a commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

While China continued to invest in Sudan’s oil and construction sectors, it also called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and offered to mediate between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces. China’s interest in Sudan’s stability stems primarily from its desire to secure access to natural resources and expand its economic influence in the region.

Needless to say, the conflict between the Sudanese army and the RSF has attracted significant participation from regional and international players, each with their own motivations and interests.

While some actors, such as Egypt and Ethiopia, focus primarily on maintaining regional stability, others, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia, have more strategic goals in Sudan. The continued participation of these players in the conflict in Sudan underscores the complex and multidimensional nature of the crisis and highlights at the same time the challenges of finding an immediate solution to it and achieving a lasting peace that prevents the country from slipping into a civil war that is widening and protracted.




The African Union declared 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in order to put the spotlight on the plights of those that are uprooted. During the celebration in Nigeria, the government was called upon to domesticate the Kampala Convention in Nigeria. One year later the call is yet to receive proper attention. As many are economically displaced as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many displaced persons are at the risk of sinking further into abyss and oblivion.

Nigeria is among the countries that have ratified the Kampala Convention but yet to domesticate it in our national law. Nigerian House of Representative Committee on IDPs was established in 2015 with Sani Zoro as the chair. The committee with the assistance of the UNHCR conducted stakeholder mapping an analysis of existing legislation and awareness raising activities among the general population. It also held a national assembly session on IDPs during which the UNHCR handbook for implementation on Internal Displacement was presented. Despite the progress, the process was hampered by limited fund, lack of capacity and inadequate coordination mechanism.

We have big problems. No cow, no food to eat. We only eat when our children go out in search for food and bring it to us. The government did not help us only the NGOs who distributed food items twice. Since then we did not receive anything.

Internal displacement has been a recurring phenomenon in Nigeria as a result of violent conflicts, natural disasters and in some cases developmental projects. Since the return of civil rule in 1999, the waves of displacement caused essentially by conflict, generalized violence, natural disaster and human right violation have not abated. The most worrisome trend of displacement in Nigeria is that of violent conflicts because of the impact on the lives of the displaced people and the country at large. It is estimated that around half a million people had been displaced between 1999 and 2005, when communal clashes peaked. Between 2009 and 2017, there have been other causes of displacement but no one has been as devastating as the Boko Haram induced displacement. The Boko Haram insurgency and the resulting military operation have led to over 20,000 casualties and displaced more than 3 million people.

Another ugly trend causing a new wave of displacement is the rise in banditry in the Northwest region. Many analysts have compared the damages resulting from the activities of the bandits to that of the Boko Haram. Many states such as Katsina, Zamfara have recorded new cases of displacement as communities are being ransacked by these criminal minded individuals.

The three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have the highest number of IDPs in Nigeria being the worse hit by the Boko Haram terrorist activities. Many of these IDPs are found in camps and some live in host communities putting a strain on the fragile economic base and infrastructure in those communities. Many times these communities who welcomed displaced persons arm become less hospitable as they face less food, schools and health facilities to meet the need of the increased population. The responses to the plights of IDPs in Nigeria have begun to wane as government and NGos have had to channel limited resources to others use. Added to this is the problem diversion of fund and items meant by government and humanitarian officials
While some IDPs in camps still receive some forms of intervention from government and NGOs there are many displaced persons and refugees who are currently in protracted displacement in different host communities and have become largely invisible. One of the typical examples of this category of people is that of the displaced persons in Mugulbu, Adamawa state. Many of these people have found themselves in displacement for about five years. According to the village head, when they first arrived Mugulbu, they lived in make shift huts with no toilets. The whole community was steeped in smell from open defecation putting the village at the risk of disease outbreak. Many of them could not speak the language of the community affecting the opportunities open to them for seeking means of livelihood.

Here is the excerpt of the Focus Group Discussion which Mr. Kamal Ololade was held with them:
How did you come to this place? Why did you leave your home?
IDPS (One of the participants):
You people know Boko Haram; they are the ones that sent us away. They took our herds of cattle, sheep, goats and all, and they left us running for our lives. But, we don’t have food and there is no any help from government. Some organizations usually help, but the government, no. This is how we are living here. Our children are wandering on the streets looking for food.
What are the challenges you are facing?
IDPs: Food, there is no food, no farm, no house except huts. The lack of food is our problem, but we have source of water in the community.
What are you doing to survive now?
IDPs: You see, some go to the markets searching for something to do while others go to the bushes looking for jobs from people, so that they feed their children.
Have you received any help from the government?
IDPs: Before they helped us, they brought things for us twice and now it is almost four years.
Question: But is it from the government or an organization?
IDPs: Those people with black cars. (One of them cut in) Yes, it is an organization.
Question: What and what did they bring to you?
IDPs: Kettles, pots, duvets, mats and the rest. But, that was twice four years ago.
Question: What about your women? Is there anything they do? Is there any problem with them?
IDPs: the women are also here
Question: What do you think is the solution to your problem?
IDPs: We are just waiting to see if the government help us or not.
Question: What do you want the government to do for you?
IDPs: Food. Without food what are we going to eat? You have at least 10 children and you don’t have food. You have to look for it.
Question: if everything is fine, will you like to go back to your place or continue to leave here?
IDPs: If our place becomes peaceful we would like to go back because we have farm and everything. Our living here is not enjoyable at all because we are just living like that. In this place we are about 500 with women and children.
Question:  Are there people still coming?
No, there is nobody coming now. However, we heard in Borno they used to give them food and money. We here we did not receive any money. We were given food twice by those organizations.
Question (to the women): We want to know the problems you are facing as female IDPs?
We have big problems. No cow, no food to eat. We only eat when our children go out in search for food and bring it to us. The government did not help us only the NGOs who distributed food items twice. Since then we did not receive anything.

We call for increased access to social and basic services for the displaced persons, respect for the civil and humanitarian nature of internally displaced persons camps, and the creation of a better protection environment in general.

By Kamal Ololade Ahmed
Kamal O. Ahmed is a graduate of Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Benin, Edo State Nigeria with a double major in education. After his first degree in 2012, he worked briefly as a part time lecturer in a College of Education where he taught Political Science and Public Administration as well as some education courses. He has a keen interest in writing on Political matters, defense and security with special focus on Africa and the Middle East. He has published a number of articles on both online and print media including Young Diplomat. He is currently a post graduate student at the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna where he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Defense and Strategic Studies.