Forced Internal Migration in Nigeria


This page develops resources that look at the causes and consequences of forced internal migration in Nigeria, developing a detailed example of environmental and political push factors. Students look at the many environmental factors drawing on existing knowledge of land degradation and climate stress and focus in more depth through a mapping activity on the consequences of the 2012 flood, which led to over 2 million displaced people. Students then go on to look at the geo-political causes of migration through civil conflict and mind map the impacts of such displacement on both people and place.

Enquiry Question

Why are Nigerians forced to migrate internally and what are the consequences for people and place?

Lesson Time: 1 Hour

Lesson Objectives:

  • To understand the causes and consequences of forced internal migration in Nigeria to include environmental and political push factors, and consequences for people and places.

Teacher Notes:

Starter Activity - Map Analysis_Processes_Project the internal migration map for Nigeria and students should describe the pattern and discuss what factors they think cause it.

1. Map Analysis_Places and Processes_Follow this up by having the students annotate the map to show the main regions of internal migration

2. Mapping the Floods of 2012_Places and Processes_Student should then make a map of their own to map the extent of impacts of the 2012 floods. They should use the PDF provided either as a table resource or projected on the board.

3. Reading Comprehension_Places and Processes_Students should then read the text extract within the site and make further notes on the environmental pressures that cause internal migration

4. Political Causes_ Places, Processes and Power_Show the students of the 200 abducted girls and discuss the geopolitical conditions in Nigeria that you think make such atrocious acts possible and what impact do you think it has on internal migration

5. Conflict and Migration_Places, Processes and Power_Using the worksheet provided students should read the text and graphics and answer the questions on the link between conflict and migration. Use the the discussion points for a pair share activity.

Starter Activity_Places and Processes_Internal Migration in Nigeria

Forced Internal Migration in Nigeria

Study the map below which shows net lifetime migration by geopolitical zone of origin and current zone of residence in Nigeria.

1. Describe the pattern and extent of internal migration in Nigeria

2. What factors do you think explain the pattern?

Source: International Organization for Migration

Teacher Comment:

General pattern - Internal migration in Nigeria is clearly complex within most migration taking place internally within geographical zones. All geographical zones experience migration. The south experiences most migration

There appears to be a pattern of migration and return especially involving migration between two different geographical zones

Migration is most likely to occur between regional provincial capitals.

In addition there appears to be a pattern of migration towards borders with neighbouring countries

2. Study the following map and annotate your own version to describe the main regions of internal migration

Source: data derived from Migration in Nigeria: A Country Profile (IOM)

Student Activity_Places and Processes_The Floods of 2012

Using the following PDF to produce a map to show the extent of impacts of the 2012 floods on both people and places within Nigeria

Nigeria map template

Nigeria 2012 Floods Resource Pack

Student Activity_Places and Processes_Environmental Causes of Forced Internal Migration in Nigeria

Read the following text from Migration in Nigeria: A Country Profile (IOM) and add to your notes on the environmental causes of forced internal migration.

Involuntary or forced migration has become a major concern in Nigeria as a consequence of climate change, civil strife and insecurity in the country. Land degradation, erosion and desertification as a result of climate change, population pressure and land misuse have driven people out of their normal places of abode to other locations where they start life all over again. A very unusual kind of forced migration happened in Nigeria in 2012 occasioned by the massive flooding that affected many states in the country and displaced millions of people. Data collected by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) indicate that nationwide 2,157,419 people were displaced by the flooding that affected 256 LGAs (one third of the total number of LGAs) and 3,870 communities in the country. The flood displacement was more severe in five states, namely Anambra, Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers and Niger (Table 21). In addition to the large number of people who were displaced, millions more were affected by the flood (7,705,398), and nearly 600,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, especially in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

Student Activity _Places, Processes and Power_Political Causes of Forced Internal Migration in Nigeria

The following image of 200 abducted school girls was released by the insurgency group Boko Horam in April 2014. Boko Horam are active mainly in the north-eastern zone of Nigeria.

Discuss the geopoltical conditions in Nigeria that you think make such atrocious acts possible and what impact do you think it has on internal migration

Follow this up by watching the following video introducing the challenge of Nigeria

Teacher Comment:

  • The vast size of the country and the problem of distance decay with investment means that more northern regions are held back. The vast wealth of the south and its oil reserves means a challenge in terms of equity across the country
  • There is great ethnic diversity in Nigeria which increases political instability and also enables extremism
  • Fluid migration often across borders means returning migrants may have sympathies towards extremism
  • Political bias and corruption is endemic and further exacerbates conflicts

Student Activity_Places, Processes and Power_Civil Conflicts and Forced Internal Migration in Nigeria

Read the following text and answer the questions and discussion points

Civil Conflicts and Internal Migration in Nigeria

Teacher Comment:

Internal displacement in Nigeria at first may seem to have little global impact. However as the story of the stolen school girls became a global outrage the wider global impacts of instability in Nigeria become more apparent. Internal displacement is a product of environmental or political crisis. This in turn can fuel discontent or conflict, which can increase extremism. Political instability, corruption, conflict and acts of violence against the civilian population of any country requires global intervention. Nigeria is an important country in terms of African development with vast, high-grade oil reserves, its population is set to double by 2050 and so it is large growing market for global trade. Political instability and displacement erode confidence in global investment in Nigeria and holds its economic growth back. This in turns hold back the economic growth of Western Africa.

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