International human rights organisation, Save the Children, on Monday, said that except urgent measures are taken, Nigeria will experience a serious food crisis as farmers face a wave of attacks and kidnappings by armed militia.
The organization stated that the relentless wave of attacks against farmers in Nigeria by armed terrorists is hindering critical food supplies and threatening to push the country deeper into a devastating hunger crisis this year.
The Country Director for Save The Children in Nigeria, Famari Barro, in a statement, buttressed, “It is also likely that even more people will be pushed into hunger than earlier predicted due to extreme weather events that are getting more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis.
“These violent attacks against farmers in Nigeria are exacerbating the already dire hunger crisis in the country, especially in the north where millions of children do not know where their next meal will come from. Armed groups committing these ruthless acts are not only disrupting food production but also pushing children to the brink.
“Urgent action must prioritize the needs of children to stop this devastating trend and protect innocent lives. If not, armed groups will continue to carry out brutal attacks, drive food prices, and push more families to starvation.”
According to the Nigerian Security Tracker, the NGO noted that while increased attacks against farmers across parts of the country had been leading to displacement, market disruptions and loss of livelihoods, more than 128 farmers had been killed and 37 others kidnapped across Nigeria between January and June 2023.
It is to be recalled that Nigeria had declared a state of emergency on food insecurity to help tackle food shortages, stabilize rising prices, and increase protection for farmers facing violence from armed groups.
Barely two weeks, a former Governor of Sokoto State and member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees, Attahiru Bafarawa, had raised concern over the banditry in the North-West and North-East which, he said, had constituted a serious threat to food security in Nigeria.
According to Attahiru, instead of talking about cabinet ministerial appointments, subsidy and the economy, the government of President Bola Tinubu should consider food security as his priority.
The elder statesman had also warned that if stringent measures were not taken to curb insecurity, the North would face severe educational backwardness in the next 50 years.
In his words: “Instead of talking about cabinet, subsidy and the economy, the government should consider food security because with the rate we are going, in the next three months, we are definitely going to have problems in Nigeria, especially in the North-West.
“The bandits have refused to allow farmers to cultivate their crops. This is a very dangerous situation not only because the bandits are killing people but also because the food scarcity is going to be too serious in the next few months, especially in the North-West and North-East. So, we want the government to wake up and do something about it.
“Also, with the way education is going, in the next 50 years, we are going to be very backward in education because most of the primary schools in the North have been closed because of banditry. There are no primary schools, no secondary schools and this is a serious disaster. So, we cannot sit down and watch; something must be done right before it gets worse.”