Persisting and escalating conflicts in the northeast and other northern areas increasing assistance needs
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Agroclimatology: The main rainy season is starting normally in the southern part of the country as of late February and farming households are engaged in usual land preparation activities.
Labor and income sources: Dry season cultivation of vegetables, maize, and rice is underway along river floodplains providing labor opportunities for poor households across the country. Poor households are engaged in land clearing, as usual for this time of the year, to earn income, while agropastoralists are selling their livestock at favorable prices to earn income. The above average rainfall during the previous season will provide increased water access for dry season farming and fishing across the country. Meanwhile, the government is in the process of rolling out a targeted policy to support rice cultivation across the country which will lead to increased dry season harvests and as a result increased agricultural labor opportunities.
The Dangote tomato processing company in Kano has the capacity to process 1,200 tons of fresh tomato per day, though is currently only producing 200 tons daily due to limited supplies from out-growers who are unable to meet the requirements of the company. Similarly, Tomato Jos, another tomato farming and processing company based in Kaduna is also engaged in tomato production through an out-grower scheme, increasing production and income opportunities. This company has a daily processing capacity of 85 tons and local growers are able to meet the current capacity needs.
Motorcycle taxis which are a common income earning opportunity for poor households have been restricted in some major cities across the country and affected households are resorting to petty trading, construction work and other unskilled labor work to earn relatively lower income. Some vulnerable households are earning income through firewood sales, and sales of crafts, while others will remain indebted until the main harvest. Some vulnerable households are also turning to fishing and hunting as income opportunities.
Border closure and cross border trade activities: Since August 20, 2019 the Nigerian land border has remained closed with neighboring countries including Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Benin, due to the threats of rice smuggling, and insecurity. The first phase of the border closure ended in January 2020 but has been renewed indefinitely. Informal cross border trade activities between Nigeria and these neighboring countries has continued, though at substantially below average levels. However, livestock flows into Nigeria remain normal at most points of entry.
Market and household food stocks: Markets are well supplied across the country with staple cereal including maize, millet and sorghum. Carryover stocks from the previous season have increased market supplies, particularly for cowpea, groundnut and cereals - in order of magnitude. The cassava harvest is underway, which is increasing market supplies of gari, a major staple in southern areas of the country. Markets are also well supplied with yams, and potatoes. However, imported rice stocks are at their lowest levels since the land border closure began in August 20, 2019, restricting rice flows into the country.
Staple food prices: The cross-border closure, escalating conflict, and low household purchasing power have led to below average market purchases relative to previous years. Similarly, low institutional purchases, carryover stocks from the previous year and reduced trader demand during the recent consumption period resulted in increased market stocks for both staple foods and cash crops. As a result, staple cereal prices are lower than last year, though higher than the five-year average.
Disease outbreaks: Lassa fever (LF), an acute viral illness and the more severe version of the disease, viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) caused by the Lassa virus are associated with high morbidity and mortality and has both economic and health security consequences. In Nigeria the disease is increasingly recognized to be endemic. In 2018, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reported the largest ever number of cases in Nigeria, with over 600 confirmed cases and over 170 deaths. According to the NCDC, between January 1 and February 2, 2020 there were 1226 suspected cases of LF, and 365 confirmed cases with 47 deaths and a case fatality rate of 12.7 percent. These occurred in 23 states and 74 LGAs - Ondo and Edo states are the worst affected, while only a few cases have been reported in Ebonyi and Taraba states. In Benue state in north central Nigeria there is an outbreak of a strange and undiagnosed disease in localized areas that has resulted in 15 fatalities. The government is struggling to identify the cause and remedy the situation. These have led to reduced expenditure by government in food security related areas. Additionally, households’ expenditures on food have also reduced and household time spent as a caregiver to those ill has reduced their ability to participate in income earning opportunities.
Conflict and displacement:
Incidents and fatalities: Conflict related to insurgency, armed banditry, communal, pastoralist/farmer, kidnapping, and cattle rustling persist across the country. The worst affected areas are in the northeast, closely followed by the northwest and north central parts of the country. An increase in attacks has been reported across the affected areas in the northeast, northwest and central states since late 2019. A report by Global Rights, an international non-governmental organization shows that 3,188 Nigerians, including 2,707 civilians and 481 security operatives, were reportedly killed in 2019 across the country. According to the report, Borno state recorded the highest casualty figure list with 728 persons; while Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Taraba recorded 450, 280, 254 and 181 respectively. The six next most affected states by the number of deaths recorded include Rivers – 176, Benue – 167, Niger – 100, Sokoto – 90, and Kogi – 88 persons. In January 2020 ACLED reported 507 fatalities throughout Nigeria, which is similar to the 510 fatalities recorded in January 2019. Borno state, the epicenter of the conflict in the Northeast had an average of over 288 fatalities per month between January 2018 and January 2020.
Displacement: Based on the recent IOM-DTM assessment conducted between August and October 2019 there are over 2 million people displaced in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states in the northeast. A similar assessment conducted from August to September 2019 in eight northwest and north central states of Nigeria recorded over 540,000 displaced people.
The IOM-ETT report covering 27 January – 2 February 2020, recorded 3,104 population movements with 2,072 arrivals and 1,032 departures across Borno and Adamawa states. Most arrivals were recorded in Konduga, Ngala and Hawul LGAs in Borno state, while most of the population departed from Askira Uba and Kala Balge LGAs. These movement are mainly due to poor living conditions and fear of attacks. Over 200 refugees arrived from Cameroon and Niger within the same period and they are located in either host communities or camps.
On 31 December 2019 UNHCR, in collaboration with the governments of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger reported that Niger is hosting 120,619 refugees from Nigeria, while 111,670 refugees are in Cameroon and 12,723 others are staying in Chad. In Nigeria, UNHCR has reported 50,163 Cameroonian refugees residing mainly in host communities across Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River and Taraba states by November 2019. Recently, about 8,000 Cameroonian refugees who are in need of emergency food, shelter and medical care are crossing into Nigeria due to the escalating Ambazonian conflict in parts of Cameroon. In total, almost 60,000 refugees were presently in Nigeria at the end of 2019.
Northeast Nigeria – (Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and Yobe states):
Insurgents have escalated their attacks in the northeast of Nigeria and the military counter insurgency operations have also intensified leading to increased population displacement and restricted livelihood activities in the area, where over 2 million people remain displaced. Most of the affected population are living in host communities while others are residing in camps and are dependent on humanitarian assistance and community support. Borno state, the epicenter of the insurgency hosts about 1.5 million IDPs, followed by Adamawa and Yobe states.
In February, insurgents attacked Konduga (Auno) where around 30 people were killed, and houses and vehicles were burnt by the insurgents. Similar attacks were also reported in Kala balge, Ngala, Dikwa, Damboa, Tungushe (Magumeri LGA), Mbalala (Chibok LGA), Maiduguri, and Babangida, Yobe state. Despite continued population displacement and livelihood restrictions, humanitarian food assistance is declining. In November 2019 over 1,577 million people received food assistance across Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states but in December 2019, the level of assistance declined to 1.397 million people across the three states.
Northwest and central states of Nigeria impacted by the farmer/herder, banditry and communal conflict:
Conflict related to communal differences, farmer versus pastoralist, and kidnappings persist in the north central states including Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba and Benue where recent attacks have led to population displacements. Most displaced populations are in host communities while some are residing in camps where they are partly dependent on humanitarian actors and community support for food and income. Similarly, communities in north-west Nigeria face critical livelihood conditions due to the increase in attacks in 2019 from armed bandits that drove 42,000 Nigerians to seek refuge in Niger, while 200,000 people were internally displaced within Nigeria. On February 15, 2020 bandits laid siege to Tsauwa and Dankar villages in Batsari LGA (Katsina state) where 21 and 9 people were killed, respectively, and houses and foodstuffs were burnt by the bandits. In Niger state eight LGAs including Shiroro, Rafi, Munya, Tafa, Lapai, Borgu, Marisa and Paikoro are currently under siege by bandits who kidnap and kill members of the local populations, burn houses, and rustle livestock. Displaced households are living in host communities, while others are in camps and are in need of food, shelter and medical care. In Kuta, Shiroro local government headquarters, Niger state, there are about 100,000 IDPs. Similarly, between late January to mid-February 2020 about 18 communities were invaded by the bandits in Shiroro LGA, including Gurmana, old Gurmana and Ashirika in Shiroro LGA. Over 200 cattle were rustled in Shiroro LGA. Also, at least 47 people in Beni, Munya LGA were kidnapped by bandits who are demanding NGN 49 million from the captives’ relations for their freedom. Similarly, the captors of 15 people from Kukoki in Shiroro LGA are demanding N22.5million in ransom. In neighboring Kaduna state, bandits’ attacks and kidnapping are also common in Birnin Gwari, Kachia, Kajuru, Giwa, and Igabi LGAs where several fatalities occurred recently, and population displaced. Counter attacks by the security forces have left 250 bandits dead in Birnin Gwari LGA, Kaduna state.
FEWS NET field informants indicated that the worst conflict impacted LGAs are currently in Zamfara state include Gummi, Bukkuyum, and Anka, while the situation remains calm in Tsafe, Maru, Maradun, and Birnin Magaji LGAs. However, there are improvements in Zurmi, Gusau and Shinkafi LGAs which were critically impacted by the conflict during mid-2019 as security forces have forced the bandits to leave these areas. Most of the IDPs in Zamfara state remain integrated into the host communities. It was reported that an official IDP camp exists in Anka (Emir’s Palace), with about 415 tents where MSF provides support. Most of these affected populations are unable to cultivate, and some that cultivated during the previous season are unable to harvest their crops due to the continuing insecurity.
Due to the persisting level of attacks and kidnappings, several markets are either not functioning or functioning at below average levels. For example, markets such as Gyari market in Gummi LGA is functioning at 40 percent, while Wuya, Bagaga and Rafin Gero markets in Anka LGA are functioning at 50 percent, 70 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Similarly, Dankurmi, Dangulbi, Bindin and Matunji markets in Maru LGA are functioning at 30 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent and 50 percent, respectively. These limitations also constrain livelihoods activities and food access since most traders avoid these areas due to fear of attacks.
In Katsina state the worst affected LGAs include Jibia, Batsari, Kankara, Danmusa, Safana and Dutsinma – all along or near the border with Zamfara state. The bandits are understood to have moved into Katsina state from Zamfara state and from Niger through the Rugu forest. Restricted information is, however, available on population and size of IDPs in camps across the northwest of Nigeria, which limits our understanding of the total population in need of assistance.
Some IDPs were reported in Kankara, Batsari and Danmusa LGAs, in Katsina state. Displaced population in Jibia were said to have relocated to Katsina, the state capital and are staying with the host community while others are in camps have been supported by the state Government. Markets are functioning slightly below normal in all affected LGAs as traders leave the market premises earlier than usual due to fear of attacks. A curfew also has been imposed on motorcycle riders from 7pm to 6am across the state which limits movements of goods and labor.
The most likely scenario for February to September 2020 is based on the following national level assumptions:
- 2020 rainy season: Preliminary results from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) presented in December 2019 revealed that the rainy season is expected to start normally in late February 2020 in the southern part of the country and reach the northern region by June 2020. Rainfall amounts will range normally between 400 to 500 mm in the extreme northern areas to above 1,400 to 3000mm in the central and southern parts of the country. Similarly, the length of the growing period will vary from 110 days in the extreme north to 300 days in the extreme south as is usual. A normal end of season is also expected from late September to early October in the north and early December in the south.
- Flooding and dry spells: A short dry spell is expected sometime in June or July in the north and August or September in the southern areas, as usual. Populations along the major floodplains of the Niger and Benue rivers and other tributaries will likely be impacted by normal levels of flooding leading to population displacement for three to five months. Rainwater from upstream areas of the Niger River in Niger and the release of water from Lagdo and other local dams in Cameroon during the peak of the rainy season from July to September will compound the level of flooding along the Niger and Benue Rivers in Nigeria. Infrastructure, homes, livestock and farmland are all expected be affected by flooding.
- Main harvest prospects: In anticipation of the normal onset of the season, normal duration of the growing period, and typical spatio-temporal distribution of the rainy season coupled with the inputs provided by government to vulnerable population will lead to a substantial portion of the population engaging in cultivation of major staple crops. Incentives to produce staples and the restrictions on rice imports will lead to increased cultivation and harvests will be average to above average except in conflict affected areas and flood prone areas where harvests will be lower than average.
- Pastoral resources and transhumance: Persisting cattle rustling, insurgency and kidnapping within the Sahel region of West Africa will continue to restrict livestock movement towards the coastal areas of Nigeria. Similarly, domestic livestock movement from the northern to the southern region transiting through the central states will remain restricted due to the persisting farmer/pastoralist conflict, cattle rustling, and kidnapping. The access to the vast grazing lands within the central parts of Nigeria including in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba and Kwara states will remain restricted due to the persisting conflict and cattle rustling activities, limiting access to pastoral resources. Conflict in northeast and northwestern regions will similarly restrict access to pastoral resources and transhumance. The farmer and pastoralist conflict will intensify during the growing season from June to September across the country as pastoralists have less access to land on which to keep their livestock, forcing them closer to agricultural settlements.
- Off-season activities, dry season harvest: Increased government support with inputs – fertilizer, improved seeds and pesticides coupled with adequate water availability in local ponds across the country will lead to above average dry season cultivation for rice, vegetables, and maize. The persisting border closure – limiting rice imports and increase patronage for local rice consumption will also increase rice cultivation. Thus, the dry season harvest in April and May will be average to above average in most areas. Similarly, fishing catches will be average in most rivers and ponds due to high water levels. Restricted access to the Lake Chad basin will lead to increase fishing activities in other local ponds and rivers as water recedes, starting in December.
- Income earning opportunities: Poor households will continue to engage in normal income earning opportunities across the country including petty trading, agricultural labor, wild food collection, and local crafts sales. Pastoralists will sell their livestock normally to earn income as livestock/cereal terms of trade are favorable to the pastoralists. Households will sell their own-produced cash crops, and others will sell staple crops to meet expenditure needs as usual. However, households impacted by conflict, flooding and dry spells or prolonged rainfall will engage in atypical labor work such as land preparation, weeding, fertilizer application, construction work and other menial jobs to earn income, particularly towards the lean season period.
- Labor availability and wages: Labor work during the dry season period spanning January to May will likely be average to above average as the government provides more support to dry season farming activities, particularly rice cultivation. With the beginning of the growing season from February to June across the country agriculture related labor work will increase. Poor households will engage in land preparation, planting, weeding, fertilizer application, and harvest of the early green harvest and early maturing crops through September. Similarly, during the off-season period poor households will engage in unskilled labor work including construction work, petty trading, and motorcycle taxi driving. Women will engage in domestic labor work to earn income. Thus, labor rates will be average across most parts of the country. However, labor availability and rates will be lower than average in conflict affected areas in the northeast, northwest and central parts of the country due to increased competition.
- Conflict and displacement: The recent escalation of conflict in the northeast and northwest parts of the country will lead to increased casualties and increased population displacement and elevated assistance needs. During the dry season period in the northern areas through May, the level of attacks by the insurgents will likely increase due to ease of movement. However, during the rainy season most seasonal roads are unpassable and attacks by insurgents will likely decrease. As a result, the current intensity of attacks by the insurgents will likely persist through at least May and subsequently with the onset of the rainy season in June and July the rate of insurgent attacks will likely decline through at least September. However, attacks in the northwest will likely be more intense during the growing season as pastoralists stray into farmland leading to conflicts with farmers. The level of attacks by armed bandits, kidnapping and cattle rustling activities will likely escalate to other northern areas through September 2020.
Markets and Trade
- Cross border trade activities: Cross border trade activities with Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon are mainly at informal levels due to the ongoing border closure since August 2019. It is expected that the volume of trade will continue to substantially decline in coming months as the border remains closed. Food flows into the Sahelien countries will remain at below average levels as smaller vehicles and motorcycles will continue to be used to convey such items through illegal routes, limiting flow. Livestock flows from the Sahel into Nigeria will, however, remain elevated as most are usually conveyed by foot to neighboring cross border markets in Nigeria.
- Staple food and livestock prices: Staple cereal (maize, millet, sorghum and rice) prices will remain elevated above the five-year average across the country. This is attributable to persisting conflict in the northeast, northwest and central states where staple demand will remain elevated, particularly towards the lean season. Increased demand during the Ramadan period in April and May will increase millet and maize prices as consumption increases. Similarly, demand in the Sahel states and institutional purchases will lead to increased prices. Rice prices will continue to increase as the import restriction is expected to remain enforced as it has been since August 2019. Livestock prices will remain elevated as the flows from neighboring countries remain restricted relative to prior to the border closure. Prices will peak towards the end of the Tabaski period in July and August.
- Household stocks and market food supplies: Staple and cash crop market stocks remain elevated due to carryover stocks from the previous year. Substantial trader stocks remain unsold from the previous consumption year particularly for cowpea, maize and millet due to a glut during the previous consumption period. Thus, major traders and farmers decided to keep their stocks and markets remain well supplied. Traders will continue to release their stocks particularly millet and maize as prices becomes favorable to traders. As prices continue to increase traders will continue to release their stocks through the lean season. However, household stocks are lower than the previous year since many farmers could not cultivate as usual and had below average harvests. This is further compounded by the ongoing conflict that limits the level of cultivation and household stocks. Thus, poor households will resort to market purchases earlier than usual in conflict affected and flood prone areas. Similarly, the prolonged growing season during the recent season limited harvests in affected areas, which in turn has limited household stocks.
- Exchange rates and inflation rate: The year on year inflation rate will remain elevated at double digits through at least September 2020. This will be compounded by the persisting border closure and restricted food imports. Food imports such as rice through informal routes will increase transaction costs, including illegal taxes, leading to elevated rice prices and high inflation rates. Similarly, the implementation of the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers at the state and national levels will increase liquidity in the system leading to an increase in the inflation rate in the coming months. The naira exchange rates to the dollar and other foreign currencies will likely remain elevated. The dual exchange rate of the naira by the central bank of Nigeria will likely continue and the government will continue to intervene through direct interjection of foreign currencies into the market to prop up the naira monthly. Thus, the naira will likely remain stable, though at higher exchange rate levels through at least September 2020.
- Crude oil prices: Continuing tensions in the middle east will likely persist and crude oil supplies in the international markets will be negatively impacted, particularly if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz where over one fifth of the world’s oil shipments pass through, restricting crude oil flows amidst high demand. The continued conflict in Libya will also limit crude oil flows into the international market, leading to hikes in crude oil prices. Increased demand during the winter period will sustain high crude oil prices. However, the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China and other parts of the world will lead to slight decline in crude oil demand, particularly from China and crude oil price will likely be impacted. Consequently, overall, the elevated crude oil price at the international market will lead to increased revenue earnings for Nigeria.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
Most households across the country are engaged in typical livelihoods activities earning typical incomes and consuming their own-produced foods. Staple prices are favorable to market dependent households as labor opportunities and incomes are typical and livestock prices are also favorable. Thus, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected for most areas of the country through September 2020.
The worst conflict-affected households in the northwest, including Sokoto, Zamfara, and Katsina states, remain displaced and are unable to engage in normal livelihood activities and are now dependent on atypical livelihood activities. Only a a few of these households are able to cultivate and consume their own produced foods. Over 20 percent of this affected population are minimally able to access food but unable to meet non-food needs and will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May 2020. Similarly, conflict affected households in Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Niger, Benue and Nasarawa states remain displaced and unable to engage in typical livelihood activities and will also experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through May 2020. As the conflict in the northwest escalates towards the lean season period, worst-affected households in Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states will likely face food consumption gaps and will experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from June to September 2020.
In areas worst affected by the Boko Haram conflict in the northeast, livelihoods for most households remain heavily disrupted. The main harvests remain substantially below the pre-conflict period and other income-earning opportunities will remain restricted and substantial populations remain displaced. Households will remain highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs, particularly the IDPs in major urban areas and those who reside in camps and are expected to continue facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. Communities outside of the IDP settlements within the Sambisa axis, northern and central Borno, northern Adamawa, and southern Yobe, and who mainly remain outside of the main urban centers in the northeast will continue to receive constrained or no humanitarian assistance and are dependent on their own limited harvests and market purchases for food. These population will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Households in partly accessible or difficult to access areas and those worst-affected by the conflict who are unable to engage in normal livelihood activities, and who face constrained access to markets and assistance provisions, will continue to face larger food consumption gaps and will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. Areas where populations are affected by significant losses of livelihoods activities and who remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors are likely facing similar or worse food security outcomes as adjacent, accessible areas. Extreme levels of acute food insecurity, including Famine (IPC Phase 5) are possible in a worst-case scenario shift in which conflict would significantly restrict humanitarian access and household movements.
Events that Might Change the Outlook
|Area||Event||Impact on food security outcomes|
Delayed onset of the rainy season in most areas across the country.
Opening of the Nigerian land border in February/March.
|National||Military being proactive to counter the operations of the insurgents and armed bandits in their enclaves.||
About Scenario Development
To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.
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