The overwhelming increase of Internally Displaced Persons in the situation of natural disasters in Nigeria in recent years has become an issue of grave concern. More worrisome is the fact that these persons are often victims of violations of human rights. Their plights have increased tremendously nowadays constituting a serious challenge of national and global implications. To address this problem, a myriad of legal, institutional and policy framework both at national international level have been enacted. This dissertation critically reviewed the rights of displaced persons in the course of natural disasters in Nigeria. To achieve this, a doctrinal method was adopted for this research. Being a library-oriented method of research, materials from both primary and secondary sources were analyzed. The primary sources include information from national and international legal instruments as well as local and foreign judicial decisions on the protection of the rights of IDPs. While the secondary sources include books, journals, articles, newspapers and internet materials. At the national level, it was found that there is no specific legal framework with the particular objective of assisting and protecting the rights of IDPs especially in situations of natural disasters in Nigeria. It was also found that the institutions for the protection of IDPs in Nigeria like NEMA and NHRC are not independent and do not have the financial and logistical capability to meaningfully function effectively. They seem to be in a more precarious position, being controlled directly or indirectly, by the government through funding, the composition of membership, provision of operational guidelines, and tenure of officers among others. While at the international level, the Guiding Principles on IDPs are not legally binding documents consequently, states cannot be held accountable if they disregard them and that they cannot be invoked in legal proceedings at the domestic level. Thus, states‘ compliance with the guiding principles is purely voluntary. Secondly, International humanitarian law applies only to internally displaced persons in situations of conflict. Against this background, the dissertation recommends, among others, that government needs to enact specific justiciable legislation that would answer to the peculiar needs of IDPs in the country, particularly those relating to the provision of permanent shelters, well equipped medical facilities, safe drinking water, and schools among others. The National Policy on IDPs is not just enough particularly because of its non-binding nature. The government also needs to effectively address the problem of capacity to build.

Categories: LAW