SEEDS of Famine: The Boko Haram Insurgency and Agricultural Production in North-Eastern Nigeria

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:40
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Abba Gana SHETTIMA, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
Since 2009, the radical Islamist group popularly known as Boko Haram has waged a relentless campaign of insurgency in Nigeria. The geographical area most affected by this insurgency is the North-Eastern part of the country.  As a result of the insurgency, social, economic and political life has been virtually paralysed in the region.  In the recent past and particularly since the beginning of 2014, the insurgents have ransacked whole villages, massacred tens of thousands of villagers and destroyed farms lands, food crops and rural infrastructure. Many rural areas in the epicentre of the conflict have been rendered unsafe for human habitation, pushing hundreds of thousands of farmers out of the land. Recent estimates put the number of people killed and displaced by the conflict as approximately 17, 000 and 2.5 million respectively. This has seriously affected all forms of livelihood activities including agricultural production.  In a region known for its debilitating poverty, aridity and periodic cycle of drought and famine, the Boko Haram insurgency has further sown the seeds of famine. This paper examines the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency on agricultural production in particular and rural livelihoods in general in the North-Eastern region of Nigeria. It explores how rural communities already rendered vulnerable by a combination of longstanding environmental crisis, neo-liberal globalization and weak state institutions are further threatened by localised insurgency. The paper further looks at the short and long term impact of the insurgency not only on the local rural economies of the North -East of Nigeria but draws its implications for the rest of Nigeria and the West and Central African sub-region. It concludes by recommending some short, medium and long term measures to make farms safe for farming and hence, prevent a catastrophic cycle of famine in the region and beyond.