The relentless increase in violent attacks on farmers by armed groups is adversely contributing to the worsening food crisis in Nigeria, with 700,000 children at the brink of death due to hunger, says Save the Children.
Armed groups have killed over 128 farmers and kidnapped 37 others across the country in the first six months of 2023, leading to disruption and displacement of livelihoods.
In Borno alone, 19 farmers were killed by non-state armed groups in June alone, according to Nigerian Security Tracker, according to a statement by Save the Children, noting that all these factors have hindered critical food supplies and may push Nigeria into a serious food crisis this year.
A farmer with 35 years of experience in the North-East, identified only as Bulama, said, “On different occasions where we will be in the field farming, armed groups have attacked and kidnapped farmers who are our friends and brothers, requesting ransom most times it’s an amount no villager can afford.”
The farmer added, “They have killed and stolen our farm produce, leaving us helpless and with nothing to take home. The hunger and starvation most of us suffer in this community are because insurgents deprive us of accessing the farmlands, and even when we risk our lives in our fields, they steal everything and allow us to starve.”
According to an estimation by the United Nations in January, more than 25 million Nigerians could face food security in 2023 alone, a 47 per cent increase from the 17 million people who were already at risk of starvation due to insecurity and conflict.
In three North-East states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe), more than two million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition, and 700,000 are on the brink of death in 2023 alone.