Roughly 4.4 million people in northeastern Nigeria may face food shortages and acute hunger due to increasing attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist group and the displacement of farmers in the area, a UN official said Tuesday.
Esty Sutyoko, deputy head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria, said the loss of livelihoods from over a decade of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic could trigger food insecurity in the area.
She spoke at a national economic planning meeting in northeast Maiduguri, the heartland of the Boko Haram crisis.
“Displacement and loss of livelihoods from COVID-19 and a looming food insecurity and nutrition crisis is putting at high risk as many as 4.4 million people [who are] threatened to face acute hunger,” she said.
Sutyoko represented the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.
She said the challenge requires collaboration between the authorities in Nigeria and the nation’s humanitarian organizations and bodies.
About three million people have been displaced in the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe following attacks by Boko Haram.
Borno Governor Babagana Zulum said the state government commenced the reopening of farmlands to farmers with security to prevent a looming food shortage.
“One of the ways to end this crisis is to return people to their ancestral homes, open farmlands and provide food security,” he said Sunday during a visit to communities along the border with Niger.