For almost two decades, the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) in general and northeast Nigeria in particular have been subject to the insurgency of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. This region is also known for its poor environmental conditions that mostly manifest in land desertification and water scarcity. We analyze the impact of the insecurity and conflict on migration from the most affected rural areas of northeast Nigeria to Maiduguri. We also explore the role that water scarcity and land desertification play in the decision of local people to migrate. Data were collected by interviewing 204 internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the Bakassi IDP camp in Maiduguri between March and May 2019. Experts were also interviewed at various governmental, non-governmental, and international institutions in Abuja. Respondents at the Bakassi IDP camp came from Guzamala, Gwoza, Marte, Monguno, and Nganzai. Though insecurity created by the conflict between Boko Haram insurgents and government forces was mentioned by all respondents as the main factor that triggered migration, this study shows that the decision to migrate was also a function of other factors that differ between communities. These factors include the geographical location of the community, land ownership, the socioeconomic status of the migrants, access to water and land, and wealth. This study reveals that in some communities, it was possible for people to live with conflict if they were still able to practice farming or if they had additional sources of income such as small businesses. The decision to migrate was only taken when the practice of such activities was no longer possible and they had nothing to hold on to.
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