Icon reports there have been 7,558 terrorist-related incidents in the last decade, with the insurgency far worse in Nigeria than in the surrounding West African countries.
Long before the murder of farmers is taken into account, this is already a massacre of Syrian proportions. But the news that Nigeria cannot afford to import food from abroad sheds more light on the suffering that the agricultural implosion will have on the whole country.
The Islamist-inspired massacres of Christian farmers, who have contributed immensely to Nigeria’s agriculture and domestic food production, mean that the threat of starvation hangs over the millions who have managed to escape the killing fields. Tragically, many of the most vulnerable in need of food are fleeing the violence and congregating in internal displacement camps prone to widespread coronavirus transmission.
It makes us question what Nigeria and President Buhari’s regime is doing with around £300 million a year of British taxpayer money in the form of foreign aid, especially if Nigeria can no longer afford food imports.
While the latest food crisis is virus-related and has been triggered by the crash in the oil price, one cannot completely ignore the pre-existing plight of vulnerable farmers, and the government’s failure to protect them from a nascent Islamic State hungry for power and resources.
The humanitarian group I lead, PSJ UK, has long warned that the carnage inflicted on Christians and other vulnerable groups in the emerging northern Nigerian caliphate will have repercussions for broader society, locally and internationally.
As I read of potential starvation in a country that was once called the ‘breadbasket’ of West Africa, I hope more than ever to be proven wrong.
Ayo Adedoyin is Chief Executive of PSJ UK, a humanitarian organisation campaigning against the persecution of Christians in Nigeria