BY Yinka Kolawole, with agency reports
The activities of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, have destroyed economic and commercial activities in the Northern part of the country.
The 2011 World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, noted that the Nigerian economy had lost over six billion dollars (N1.3 trillion) as a result of attacks by the sect.
Mr. Shedrack Madlion, a businessman based in northern Nigeria, lamented the situation.
He said: “Business activities in northern Nigeria today have gone to almost zero percent. There is no way anybody can come and put up any investment where there is insecurity. I was thriving on N3 million daily in business, in my agricultural inputs, but today, I don’t see N80,000.”
Madlion disclosed that farmers in Plateau, Kaduna and Sokoto states no longer go to farm for fear of what will happen to them, adding that it was a serious threat to food production in the North.
He said: “If we don’t have peace, there would be a need to review the Federal budget as Nigeria would be forced to import yam from Jamaica and enhance rice imports from Thailand and Cambodia.”
In Maiduguri, Borno State, the activities of the sect have weighed down seriously on commercial and businesses activities in the city as many businesses have reportedly crumbled while many people have fled the state.
The Maiduguri Monday Market, said to be the biggest market in the city, was reported to have been seriously affected as hundreds of shop owners, especially Southerners were said to have closed their businesses and left the troubled city.
Banks are also said to be operating under difficult situation and have reduced their business hours.
Borno State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, said the activities of the sect constitute a setback to the economy of the state, noting that it may take the state 20 years to recover.
Since the militant group’s devastating attack in Kano on January 20, 2012, life has not been the same again in the city.
Kano, which is reputed to be the hub of business and commercial activities in the entire 19 Northern states and beyond, is gradually losing steam.
About 80 per cent of the industries are said to have closed shops due to the daunting security challenges posed by activities of Boko Haram.
The Centre for Research and Documentation in the northern city of Kano attributes the threat to a drop in earnings for nearly all businesses in Kano State.
Umar Ibrahim Yakubu, Executive Director of the Centre, said: “We discovered that 97 percent of businesses were negatively affected by the security problem.”
Kaduna, the former capital of the defunct Northern region has not fared better as business activities in the city continued to nose dive as a result of the increasing level of insecurity in state.
Many residents live in perpetual fear of the unknown as the Boko Haram sect continuous to attack the city as they restrict their business activities to areas where they feel safe. Worst hit is the hospitality business in the city.