In June, four evictions cases involving about 123 households in informal camps and camp-like settings were reported to NRC through referrals, community-based leaders and focal points. This is twice the number of cases received in May. Reasons for eviction are landowners wanting their land for commercial purposes or for personal use. Restrictions measures put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a sharp increase in the number of IDPs living in rented accommodation within host communities struggling to pay rent, meet basic needs or provide for their families. Eviction of IDPs without alternative accommodation increases exposure to several protection risks such as homelessness. Many IDPs were forced to relocate to shared accommodation with other IDPs in other informal settlements leading to overcrowding and added pressure on available resources. The situation calls for partners to scale up response in eviction mitigation and diversion.
In May and June, the Sector provided cash-for-rent support to 257 vulnerable households (HHs) on the verge of being evicted in Borno and Adamawa states. Through its eviction monitoring mechanism, NRC will continue to ensure that the tenants’ rights, such as the right to peaceful enjoyment of property, are also being respected.
From 17-18 May 2020, NRC held a two-day awareness-raising session on HLP for humanitarian organisations implementing CCCM activities in formal and informal camps within MMC and Jere LGAs of Borno. The sessions were aimed at raising awareness on the need to mainstream HLP in CCCM interventions to mitigate the risks of evictions as many IDPs in across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states have settled on lands without seeking prior consent of the lawful owners.
On 26 June, the Sector held a consultative meeting with traditional leaders from Bolori ward, MMC LGA, on selection criteria for beneficiaries of emergency cash-for-rent support as part of the Sector’s eviction prevention emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting focused on the role of community leaders in resolving HLP disputes within their communities.
Arbitrary evictions and lack of concrete/sustainable strategy to address evictions and related challenges is likely to degenerate into multiple displacement for IDPs and returnees across the BAY states. The HLP SWG has put forward the following strategies to address short and long-term challenges:
The sector will continue to facilitate dialogue, negotiations and training sessions with traditional institutions, Government agencies and private landowners on HLP rights and their roles in upholding and protecting these rights.
The SWG will use the decongestion strategy to ensure that identification of land will take into account the juxtaposition of informal, traditional and legal frameworks that may conflict with each other. This will ensure that IDPs are able to remain in the property or on the land where they will be relocated to for a reasonable period of time.