Yobe state is composed of 17 LGAs and its capital is Damaturu. The state’s estimated population was 3 294 137 in 2016.
Yobe state is one of the ‘worst affected states in northeastern Nigeria’ by the insurgency, together with Adamawa and Borno. In addition, increasing tension between herders and farmers flared up in 2020 with several violent incidents. In Yobe state, Boko Haram and/or its splinter group ISWAP are the main actors of violence. ISWAP has some territorial control in Borno and Yobe states and taxes residents. State security forces were active in 2020 in carrying out operations and remained in high alert due to violent attacks by armed groups across border LGAs. Numerous police personnel had been deployed to maintain peace and prevent escalation, however, there has been no effective and functional government-driven conflict resolution mechanism in the state.
Violent incidents occurred in Yobe state mainly in Geidam and Gujba LGAs, at the border with Borno State. The security situation in the period from April to June 2020 in these LGAs was described as unpredictable and volatile and there was a significant increase in the threats of attacks on both civilian and military convoys, abduction/kidnapping at illegal vehicle checkpoints, and IEDs along these routes. Clashes between herders and farmers were rare until December 2020 when several fights resulting in deaths and injuries were reported. Battles between Boko Haram/ISWAP and the Nigerian security forces resulted in fatalities, including of civilians, destruction of properties and displacement. For example, in April 2021, during a gunfight between ISWAP and Nigerian military troops, a projectile hit two houses and killed 11 civilians.
There have been reports of incidents involving both civilian and military casualties from landmines and a range of other locally produced explosive devices in the northeast of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
During 2020, ACLED reported a total of 33 security incidents (21 battles, 5 incidents of remote violence/explosions, 7 cases of violence against civilians) in Yobe state (average of 0.6 security incidents per week). Security incidents took place in 8 out of 17 local government areas, with the largest overall number (11) being recorded in the LGA of Gujba.
The abovementioned security incidents resulted in 211 deaths. Compared to the estimated population in the state, this represents approximately 6 fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants.
From 1 January to 30 April 2021, ACLED reported a total of 29 security incidents (20 battles, 6 incidents of remote violence/explosions, 3 cases of violence against civilians) in Yobe state (average of 1.7 security incidents per week). These security incidents resulted in 179 deaths
By November 2020, the total number of IDPs for Yobe was 143 759. Of the IDPs in North-East region, 89 % were displaced within their state of origin. The total number of returnees to Yobe state by November 2020 was 197 910, an increase of 4 % compared to data collected in September 2020. According to IOM, the increase in number of returnees can be explained by the improved security situation at that time.
The humanitarian crisis in the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe has been described as among the world’s most severe. The ongoing violence led to the destruction of properties and public buildings such as health centres and police stations. Attacks on health or community centres affected the operational capacity of humanitarian organisations.
Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that indiscriminate violence is taking place in the state of Yobe, however not at a high level. Accordingly, a higher level of individual elements is required in order to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.