About 1.1 million lives could be lost by 2030, if the insurgency ravaging Nigeria’s North-east region continues, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said in a new report.
The report also said the over a decade conflict in the war-torn states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe “had increased by 10 times killing nearly 350,000 people as of the end of 2020”.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported in August 2019, that the insurgency led by extremist Islamic groups had killed an estimated 35,000 in the North-east parts of Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2009.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya, said this in a statement Thursday at the virtual launching of the UN report titled, “Assessing the Impact of Conflict on Development in North-east Nigeria.”
Citing the report, Mr Yahaya said that critical aspect of progress and development, including Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty, malnutrition, infant mortality, education, water availability and sanitation, may not return to pre-conflict levels in the region even by 2030.
He said findings from the report show that “for each casualty caused directly by insurgency, an additional nine people, primarily children, have lost their lives due to a lack of food and resources – and more than 90 per cent of conflict-attributable deaths are of children under the age of five”.
The report further notes that the economic destruction brought by the insurgency “has dismantled already fragile health and food systems with less than 60 per cent of health facilities in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states are fully functional, while a quarter is either destroyed or non-functional.”
“Without continued investment in development as a long-term solution, the protracted conflict in North-east Nigeria will continue to impact other parts of the country and the entire Sahel region,” Mr Yahya said.
He added that “There is a need for international partners and national stakeholders to ensure that funds are invested not only on life-saving and humanitarian needs but also mid-and long-term development priorities in order to enable Nigeria to achieve the SDGs and attain the AU 2063”.
According to the report, “the conflicts in the three states of Borno Adamawa and Yobe that recorded deaths of 35,000 at the end of 2019, increased by 10 times at nearly 350,000 deaths through the end of 2020, with 314,000 of those from indirect causes.”
The index added that “for every year that conflict continues; infants and children are the most impacted – with about 170 children under five years die daily – and by 2030, it is estimated to grow by 240”.
It said women and children make up 80 per cent of the displaced population in the North-east and have limited options for work and survival, including difficulties accessing resources.
In 2020, findings from the report estimates that 1.8 million students are out of school who would have been enrolled if not for conflict.
“By 2030, in the conflict scenario, the average Nigerian in the BAY states will have had a full year (20 per cent) of education less than expected in the No Conflict scenario
“As of 2019, 81 per cent of people living in Yobe, 64 per cent in Borno, and 60 per cent in Adamawa suffer from multidimensional poverty, a measure that accounts for deprivation with respect to standards of living, health, and education.”
The report sas to overcome the conflict, “development efforts need to be focused on the stabilisation of affected areas through a community-level approach that enhances physical security and access to justice, rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and basic service delivery as well as the revitalisation of the local economy such as market stalls, schools and police stations”.
Nigeria has continued to battle attacks from groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). Both have terrorised Nigeria’s North-east geopolitical zone for more than a decade.
This has led to massive internal displacement with more than 1.8 million Nigerians displaced in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, with the vast majority (nearly 1.5 million) located in Borno.
In addition, 1.8 million students were out of school in 2020, according to data from the UN.
Despite the repeated bloody attacks the Nigerian government, also burdened by insecurity in virtually all parts of the country, has continued to claim that the terrorists have been defeated.=
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