Refugees and the sociology of living in a “closed camp”: evidence from Oru International Refugee Camp, Nigeria

Obiageli Nnamocha, Imo State University

In 2007, the Oru International Refugee Camp (in Nigeria), which hosted about 6,000 refugees (mainly from West Africa), was declared “closed.” Thus, all of the core actors working with the refugees completely withdrew their services, even while so many of the refugee-inhabitants were (and still are!) not ‘settled’ for one of repatriation, local integration and resettlement. Thus, they remained in the ‘closed camp’, doing anything possible to fending for themselves and family. Based mainly on primary sources, this paper engages the issues and cross-cutting issues of interest facing the refugees remaining in Oru Camp since its official closure. It articulates the ‘sociology of life in a closed camp’, showing how the human conditions in the camp have degenerated since its closure. It further exposed the many vulnerable conditions of human insecurity in the camp, at both personal and group levels. It concludes with some recommendations for better camp affairs’ management.

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Presented in Session 118: Migration and adaptation of migrants