Over 1.7 million Nigerians are still living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 12 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a document obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend has revealed.

According to a Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme that began operation in July 2014 by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Abuja, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara are facing a crisis of victims that are not living in their houses.

The report stated that about six local governments are yet to be reached in Borno State for the survey as a result of attacks by Boko Haram terrorists.

By December 15, 2016, the estimated number of IDPs in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe states was put at 1,770,444 (or 313,923 households).

The report indicated that of the figure, 46 per cent are children between the ages of 1 and 18 years – with 54 per cent of this figure female, while 7.4 per cent of the IDP population above 60 years.

“This (figure of 1.7million) represents a three per cent decrease from the 1,822,541 IDPs reported in the previous DTM (Round XII, published Oct. 31, 2016) assessment.

“The decrease shows the continuing trend of IDPs returning to their LGAs of origin, particularly in the Borno State. Consequently, the estimated number of returnees is 1,039,267, as identified in this DTM round. This number is up by 80,718 from 958,549 in DTM Round XII”, DTM stated.

NEMA spokesman, Sani Datti, said the report came in response to the need for reliable information on IDPs in conflict-affected parts of Nigeria.

He stated that the IOM began implementing its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme in July 2014.

“The primary objective of the DTM is to support the government of Nigeria and other humanitarian response partners and allow them undertake IDP assessment in a unified and systematised manner thatprovides reliable information on the current IDPs’ situation.

“The DTM programme in Nigeria works in close collaboration with NEMA and State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) to highlight the needs of IDPs and returnees in accessible areas. It also gathers information on the total number of IDPs in each location assessed”, Datti said.

The document obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend stated: “Baseline information is gathered at local government areas and ward-level and detailed surveys are conducted in camps and camp-like settings.”

According to the document, the DTM teams include representatives from NEMA, SEMAs, the Nigerian Red Cross, and IOM.

IOM’s pioneering programme is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO) and the government of Germany, with NEMA also providing financial support, it said.

The assessment focused on the six North East states most affected by the ongoing Boko Haram crisis – Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.

“The DTM report covers a total of 106 LGAs and 915 wards. In Borno, the state hardest hit by the conflict, DTM teams had access to 21 LGAs (236 wards) of the 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs), including areas harder to reach due to continuous insecurity and poor road conditions”, the document noted.

It was discovered that Abuja, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara all have displaced persons in their territories.

It was gathered that food continues to be the biggest unfulfilled need of more than half of the displaced people surveyed in camps and host communities.

Non-food items (NFI) came in second, with 15 per cent citing them as their most unmet need. Medical services were the primary unmet need for seven per cent of the people and shelter was cited as a top need for six per cent, while three per cent felt water was needed most. The other key unmet needs included sanitation and hygiene – 2.2 per cent, and security – 0.8 per cent.

“It should be noted that unmet needs are a significant driving force behind population movement. Therefore, the need for food could be the biggest reason for the high mobility of the affected people,” the report further stated.