A Critical Analysis of the Influx into Nigeria


Recently, there has been a massive influx of English-speaking Cameroonians into Nigeria seeking asylum. A very large percentage of these asylum seekers are young people, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who have lost their families. According to Donnellan (2002), when such a massive movement of people occur, it reflects the situation from the country they are coming from. He stated further that they may be running from war, political or social unrest, poverty, or starvation.

This piece of research proposal is designed to enable this candidate to establish the outcome of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in relation to the provision of services by the host country Nigeria. The work will include an analysis of empirical literature and Content analysis to determine the outcome.



Based on recent research conducted by Dr Mathew Hodes ((2018), it was revealed that there is a close correlation between the degree of distress experienced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and their living conditions and arrangements. The research was designed to investigate the degree of war trauma experienced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and the psychological effects.

According to a report by Médecins Sans Frontiers (2019), tens of thousands of people from the Northwest and South-West regions of Cameroon have flee to Southern Nigeria Cross River State to seek refuge as a result of political strife between in the English Speaking Region of Cameroon which started since 2016 caused by disputes on educational and judicial reforms in the region. The situation has escalated into an arms dispute with the loss of life of thousands of civilians and soldiers.

A total of 437,500 people have been displaced with about 32,000 recorded as refugees in Nigeria (UNHCR, 2018). According to UNHCR, 51% of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria are children. There is increasing pressure on hosting communities in Nigeria on existing social services, education and healthcare.80% of schools in cross river states lack water and sanitation facilities while about 7000 children could be unable to attend school because of the inability to afford the fees and necessary materials.

Nigeria is a signatory to many international human right policies. The country has ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees (23, October 1967) and its 1967 protocol on 2nd MAY 1968.

It is also a signatory to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (29/07/1993), the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the 1966 International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It has also ratified the Organization of African Union Charter and its convention governing the specific aspects of refugees. It also ratified the African Charter on Human and People s Rights on 22, June 1983.

Despite the above, Cameroonian refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria are going through extreme hardship. The UNHCR reports that most of the refugees are struggling to get access to food, healthcare services, shelter, education, water and sanitation facilities. A joint report from the UNHCR and WFP Emergency assessment carried out in October 2019, it was revealed that more than 80% of refugee households in settlement areas are severely malnourished. Also, about 82% of the refugees are engaging in activities such as survival sex or child labour. There is also shortage of water supply. Most of the settlements are overpopulated and services are overstretched. Families are forced to pay for basic education for their children even though such services are supposed to be free. The situation in Cameroon anglophone region is getting worst and the refugee population is expected to grow soon.

In lieu of the above humanitarian situation, this research intends to explore, investigate and bring to light the situation of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria with a focus on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children


How effective are the safeguarding and health along with well-being policies related to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children?

What are the needs of unaccompanied children of Cameroon to seek asylum in Nigeria?

What are the challenges faced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the host country and Nigeria?

What strategies are to be recommended to resolve challenges faced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the host country and Nigeria?


As stipulated by the United Nations Convention for Refugee, a refugee can be defined as; “any person or individual who is afraid of persecution because of religion, nationality, race, political beliefs, affiliation or membership in an association, or, who is not in his country of origin because he cannot get shelter from his country. In addition, Donellan (2002) stated that a refugee could also be an individual with no nationality or place of abode and because of fear is reluctant to return to his country.

According to Smith (2010) a refugee can be defined as someone who because of external violence, foreign domination, career or actions that seriously caused communal mayhem and or annoyance in his home country, decides to depart in other to seek refuge in a different country.

On the other hand, any individual who is below eighteen and is submitting an application for asylum is considered an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child(UNHCR). Furthermore, any individual without documentary evidence assessed to be below the age of eighteen and is making an asylum claim on the basis of his own right and without any parental guidance is considered as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child(Calveirole and Gaughan,2011)


In the Nigerian constitution of 1999, section 173 stipulates that government policy must be directed at ensuring that there are adequate medical facilities for all persons including refugees. Also, the National Health Act of 2014 gives the right to every person in Nigeria to benefit from adequate medical facilities provided by the government.

Furthermore, the Child Act of 2003, section 13, provides for the right to good health for every child and section 171 of the Child Act stipulates that a child is considered to be in need if; the child is disabled, a refugee or internally displaced or in a difficult situation.

The 1989 National Commission for Refugees Act clearly states that refugees lawfully leaving within the country must be giving access to healthcare as citizens of the country.

The Nigerian National Migration Policy of 2015 requires the government to provide healthcare for refugees who have entered the country especially women, children and disabled persons in collaboration with other providers such as; the Nigerian Red Cross, World Health Organization, United, Nations, High Commission for Refugees.


Section 18.1 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria requires the government to direct its policies at providing equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels as follows; Free universal and compulsory primary education, free secondary education, free university education and free adult literacy program.

Also, the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004, section 2.1, states that the government shall provide free compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.

Article 22.1 of the 1989 National Commission for Refugees Act requires the Nigerian government to give refugees the same treatment as accorded to nationals with regards to elementary education.

However, most refugees of school age in Nigeria who attends public schools have been taken care of by Non-Governmental Organizations. Even though education is a basic necessity for refugees, the country is struggling to meet the need of the large influx of refugee and asylum seekers from Cameroon and other internally displaced people fleeing from internal conflicts. Observation from field workers and eyewitnesses shows that the Nigerian government has shown little or no commitment through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to give refugees the required education. However, in situations where some form of education provision has been made, the quality is questionable.


Refugees and asylum seekers must gain meaningful employment and support their livelihood. The Nigerian constitution of 1999, section 17.3 (a) states that the government shall provide opportunities for suitable employment for all its citizens without discrimination. However, this act does not include refugees and asylum seekers.

Furthermore, the 1990 Labor Act (section 23 to 48), does not give refugees the right to work but instead regulates employment for citizens of Nigeria only.

In contrast, section 17 of the National Commission for Refugees requires the Nigerian government to provide refugees with meaningful employment opportunities if they are lawfully resided in the country. Furthermore, the National Migration Policy of 2015 stipulates that the government must give refugees access to work. The Nigerian government supports refugees through its Urban Refugee Assistance Program.

From the above, it could be concluded that Nigeria has well-established legislation, structures, procedures and services designed purposely to redress issues on asylum, immigration and refugees in ensuring that they benefit from service such as; free education, healthcare, and employment. As stipulated by the constitution and the National Commission for Refugees and National migration Policy, where eligibility is determined, asylum-seeking children are entitled to healthcare and education free of charge.


The aim of the study is to determine the experiences of unaccompanied minor of Cameroon seeking asylum in Nigeria.


The objectives include:

To identify concept of effective safeguarding and health along with well-being policies related with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

To evaluate the needs of unaccompanied children of Cameroon to seek asylum in Nigeria

To analyse the challenges faced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the host country and Nigeria

To recommend strategies to resolve challenges faced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the host country and Nigeria


The research methodology mentions the particular techniques to be implemented in the research process for gathering, assembling, examining and analyzing data regarding the topic. The methodology section of the research paper helps the reader to critically analyse the validity and reliability of the study. The research methods are of two types which are Quantitative Research and Qualitative Research.

Quantitative Research is the method of collection of numeric and statistical data through computational techniques to investigate the phenomena of the study (Goertzen, 2017). Qualitative Research is the method of gathering non-numerical data through observations to resolve the raised problem in the study (Connelly, 2016). In this study, Mixed Research will be used which indicates that both Qualitative and Quantitative Research will be used. This is because while using Quantitative Research it has strength of providing reliable and repeatable information but it has limitation like it does not provides access to feedback regarding results and often the data collected in objective in nature (Brannen, 2017). However, using Qualitative Research though it has the strength of cost-effectiveness and provide in-depth information but it has limitation of taking an increased amount of time and error in data collection (Brannen, 2017). Thus, the Mixed Research will be used as it would help to resolve the limitation of one of the methods with the help of the strength of the other method.


The research philosophy is the belief regarding the mode of collecting data regarding a phenomenon for it to be analysed and used in the study for meeting the objectives (Dougherty et al. 2019). The three types of research philosophy are realism, positivism and interpretivism. The realism focuses on the idea regarding the gathering of data through personal human senses (Žukauskas et al. 2018). The positivism is the systematic approach to recognise data with the help of scientific knowledge for considering a certain decision in the study (Žukauskas et al. 2018). However, interpretivism is the method opposed to positivism which intends to collect data through the thinking of the researcher regarding the way they interpret the characteristics of the study (Žukauskas et al. 2018).

In this study, the positivism research philosophy will be used as it leads the researcher to think and act logically as well as analyse the data on the basis of scientific knowledge, in turn, acting to avoid the influence of personal perceptions that may lead to raise error in the study. The interpretivism and realism are not to be used as they are based on personal thinking and senses of the researcher which varies from person to person leading the researcher to have effective evidence to provide the reliability and validity of the study (Moon et al. 2019).


The research approach is the procedure and planning made by the research which contains the wider steps of assumptions to detail the method of data collection, analysis and interpretation (Mohr et al. 2018). The research approach is of two types that are Inductive and Deductive. The inductive research approach focuses on making observations to propose theories and models at the end of the study that is developed as a result of observation (Armat et al. 2018). However, the deductive research approach focuses on developing a hypothesis at the beginning of the study based on the existing theories to test the hypothesis through collection of data (Armat et al. 2018). In this research, the deductive approach will be used as no new theories are to be developed as seen with use of inductive approach. Moreover, this approach will be used as it leads to improve the efficiency of conducting study by reducing the risk of errors due observations (Pearse, 2019).


The research design is the procedure and set of methods to be used for analysing the gathered data related to measuring the variables regarding the research problem (Turner et al. 2017). The three types of research design are exploratory, explanatory and descriptive. The exploratory and explanatory research designs are used in the study in which the problem is not well-researched (Meyers et al. 2016). However, descriptive research design has the key aim to systematically and accurately describe a certain population to develop data to resolve the problem of the study (Turner et al. 2017). In this study, the descriptive research design will be used as it leads to explore the data to resolve the raised research problem but the explanatory and exploratory design will not be used as the study already has a well-defined research problem.


The sampling methods are mainly of two types which are probability sampling and non-probability sampling. The probability sampling is the process where the selection of the participants is done randomly and they represent the population as whole (Etikan et al. 2016). However, the non-probability sampling is the process where selection of participants is done considering a certain purpose and the participants do not represent the population as a whole (Etikan and Bala, 2017). The non-probability sampling will be used in the study as it leads to easy collection of data cost-effectively and the selected participants are found to be highly representative for the study. The probability sampling will not be used as it requires an increased amount of time.

The convenience sampling which is a type of non-probability sampling will be used as it allows easy collection of sample from the population close at hand (Speak et al. 2018). The strength of convenience sampling is that it allows efficient collection of data in the cheapest way and therefore it is to be used in the study. A total of 100 participants will be selected from the unaccompanied asylum seekers who are mainly children fleeing Cameroon for the political unrest to seek asylum in Nigeria.

The selection of the secondary data will be done through inclusion and exclusion method. The journals that are written in English and published before 2010 will be included whereas the articles published after 2010 and non-English will be excluded as it would lead to collection of most updated information, in turn, avoiding error in the study due tom backdated information. Moreover, the researcher understands only English language and therefore to collected valid data the language preference will be considered ion the study. The articles which are related to inform the factors and challenges influencing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are to be included in the study and the journals that focus on the adults are to be excluded as it would lead to create invalid data to be gathered.


The data collection methods are of two types which primary data collection process and secondary data collection process. In primary data collection process, the quantitative and qualitative data collections are of two types. In the study, both the types of data collection under primary data collection technique will be used as it would allow numeric data to be collected along with analyse the feelings and perceptions of the participations can be executed to gather in-depth information regarding the study (Riazi, 2017). The primary qualitative data will be collected from the participants by interviewing them through the use of semi-structured questionnaires. The quantitative data will be collected by surveying the participants to collect responses from them according to the closed-ended survey questionnaire. The secondary data collection will be executed by analysing and critically evaluating the information present in the journals and articles related with the topic.


The data analysis is regarded as the process for identifying, clearing, transforming and modelling data with the aim to discover useful information to support decision-making in resolving raised problem in the study (Albers, 2017). The quantitative data to be collected through survey will be analysed by using SPSS software. The SPSS software is user-friendly and will be used in the study as it will allow generating reliable data patterns and findings in the form of tables, percentages and graphs that helps to analyse the average results.

The secondary data can be analysed by using various methods such as Grounded theory, Content Analysis, Thematic analysis and others. In this study, the Content analysis method will be used for data analysis of secondary information collected from existing journals and articles. The Content analysis is referred to as the technique used for determining the presence of certain themes and concepts within the qualitative information present in the research articles (Mikkonen and Kyngäs, 2020). The strength of using content analysis is that it allows understanding the social interaction by directly looking into the texts presented in the articles along with ensure the development of in-depth information regarding human thoughts and therefore it will be used in the study.


In other to ensure that the research work comes to fruition without any problem, there are certain ethical issues that have to be taken into consideration. Also, Gibson(2004) stated that ethical validity can be achieved if a research investigation is consistent with ethical principles for all those involved. In certain situations, the research could be paused, suspended or stopped if there is a possibility of harm. It is therefore imperative to consider ethical issues when doing research. As put forward by Bryman and Bell (2007), the following ethical considerations will be considered by this researcher;

The research participants will not be put in harm’s way.

The participant's dignity will be respected and prioritised.

Before carrying out the investigation the consent of the participants will be sorted.

All data collected from the investigation will be treated with confidentiality.

The information obtained including data collected will be represented without any bias.

All communication will be done with honesty and transparency.

The research aims and objectives will not be exaggerated, and any form of deception will be avoided.

The researcher will make use of both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis.

The quantitative data will be analysed with the use of graphs, tables and charts. This will be facilitated using Microsoft excel and SPSS analysis.

The content theory and analysis will be applied to qualitative data.

In a nutshell, this researcher has already made an arrangement with some local Non-governmental organizations in Cameroon who are willing to assist in obtaining and providing relevant data required for this piece of work from where data will be collected.


The objective of this piece of work is to determine whether asylum-seeking children from Cameroon into Nigeria will have a bright future in the host country. Social amenities such as education, health, security and employment which are a fundamental human right of a child will be examined with a desire to raise awareness as it is found to be inadequate. The work will be arranged as follows;

In the first chapter, this candidate will endeavour to make a comprehensive introduction of the topic under investigation. It will include brief information of the research background, the research problems, and objectives, with an argument for the study, the limitations and finally the scope of the study.

The second chapter will open with a logical review of the relevant literature related to the research question. Furthermore, the researcher will attempt a critical review of some relevant concepts in connection to the study and how it is pertinent to child welfare and upbringing as a refugee. As a result, this candidate will attempt an empirical argument on relevant issues in relation to the concept of social refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

In chapter three, this candidate will cross-examine the research method that will be applied to the study together with the required information, facts and data to substantiate the findings. The applicable methods for the collection of primary and secondary data will also be analysed in this section. finally; this chapter will be used to establish how the research outcome will be analysed.

The fourth chapter will focus on a discussion of the analysis and presentation of the findings. It will comprise of an elaborate discussion on the relevant services and practices with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Nigeria, policies, legislations and the outcomes.

A detailed analysis of the information gathered will be used to determine the outcome based on the research question. Furthermore, the outcomes will be presented in this chapter with the use of Content analysis and in the form of graphs, charts and tables.

In the last chapter, this researcher will make the required conclusions on the study based on the findings. Also; this candidate s contributions will be made known in the form of recommendations to incorporate in already existing knowledge.

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