This case study examines the humanitarian response to the conflict-related crisis in the North-East of Nigeria, focusing primarily on the period from 2015 to the end of 2016. The aim is test the central hypotheses of the Emergency Gap project: that the current structure, conceptual underpinning and prevalent mindset of the international humanitarian system limits its capacity to be effective in response to conflict-related emergencies.
As with many conflict-related crises, the emergency in north-east Nigeria has deep and complex roots in the history of the region. The conflict began in 2009 and quickly developed beyond the control of the authorities. It unfolded in the midst of pre-existing political, social and economic tensions, making an effective humanitarian response exceedingly difficult. Despite this complexity, what is clear is that the crisis has resulted in a sprawling humanitarian disaster that has killed over 25,000 people as a direct result of the violence, and continues to devastate many more lives through hunger, psychological trauma and lack of access to healthcare.