Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Recession, inflation, corruption, and famine

Add another challenge to the list of things the Nigerian government must deal with.

Hunger games: Famine looms in areas devastated by Boko Haram
Borno state
All told, the UN estimates that 240,000 children in Borno [the state worst-affected by Nigeria’s insurgency], are suffering from severe acute malnutrition—the deadliest category of it. More than 130 will die each day without assistance. Across the wider north-east of Nigeria, a population equivalent to New Zealand’s is in need of food aid. In Abuja, the country’s sleepy capital, humanitarian co-ordinators compare the crisis to those of South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Unlike them, Nigeria cannot excuse itself as a failed state. It is Africa’s second-biggest economy. Things should never have got this bad…

The jihadists want to establish a caliphate in Nigeria: until early last year they occupied a territory the size of Belgium. But they are hopeless administrators, skilled only in violence. Rather than wooing neglected villagers, they pillaged food, stole cattle and poisoned water. Instead of using farmers to feed their fighters, they held them under lock and key…

Mercifully, the insurgents have been pushed out of most big towns in the north-east over the past 18 months… Soldiers say that landmines litter farmers’ fields, making it dangerous to grow food. Borno is now entering its third season without a harvest…

Of the roughly 20 international non-profit organisations that together hand out 90% of the world’s aid, only half are present in Nigeria’s north-east… Nigeria’s own relief agencies are more used to dealing with floods than food crises, and are also accused of stealing supplies.

To help humanitarians, Nigeria’s army must secure major roads and push forward into smaller towns, instead of sitting on its haunches…

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