March 16, 2023

Fuel scarcity, insecurity to push 24.8m Nigerians into deep poverty — CH Report


….says 18,000 IDPs to face more crisis

By Gabriel Ewepu, ABUJA

AS Nigeria and Nigerians continue to reel in economic hardship, the Cadre Harmonise, CH, Report Thursday, indicated that the protracted fuel scarcity, worsen insecurity, 2022 flood disaster and other factors will push 24.8 million Nigerians into a deep poverty crisis between June and August 2023.

Food Security Sector, FSS, partners use CH as a tool to calculate and ascertain the situation surrounding food security and nutrition in a particular area over a period of time.

Also FSS partners had adopted CH, a tool which is usually developed on request by the government of a particular country to serve as an early warning tool expected to give early warnings, prevent and manage outbreak of food and nutrition crises.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, leads the process via its National Programme for Food Security, NPFS, in synergy with other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

Its technical and financial support come from various global, regional, and national partners including Food and Agricultural Organisation, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, CILSS, WFP, Save the Children International, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, Famine Early Warning Systems Network FEWS NET, Catholic Relief Services CRS, Mercy Corps, and others.

The March 2023 cycle of the Cadre Harmonise (CH) analysis covered 26 states of Nigeria, namely: Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Edo, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The report reads in part, “Insecurity, especially insurgency in the North East states particularly in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States still persists; armed banditry and kidnapping for money ransom in some NW states such as Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna state as well as North Central states of Benue and Niger which have also lingered.

“Prolonged scarcity of petroleum motor spirit (PMS), commonly called petrol, and the associated hike in pump price across the states led to the astronomical rise in transport fares and cost of food products in Nigerian markets.

“Consistent rising price of food commodities and agricultural inputs across Nigerian markets is one of the drivers of food insecurity. The general consumer price index shows an increase from 15.7% in February 2022 to 21.9% in February 2023 (that is 39.49% point increase) year-on-year.”

Meanwhile, the report also pointed out that the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and its multiplier effects was one of the key drivers of the crisis as Nigerians were helpless and could not have access to cash that would have enabled them to purchase food items, rather they were stranded.

The report also showed that the period under review food consumption level was grossly inadequate and below the desired threshold across most of the States. For instance, in some Local Government Areas in some States including Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, food consumption is so critical that most of the LGAS fall under the crisis phase.

“During the current analysis period, most of the households in the analyzed areas adopted crisis to worse level livelihood coping measures. The implication is that most households had irreversibly disposed of their livelihood assets to meet their food and non-food needs. This is most common in the insurgency affected States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where the number of affected LGAs stand at 4, 13, and 10 respectively.

“The nutrition situation deduced from the IPC Acute Malnutrition projection for January to April, 2023 covering Adama, Borno and Yobe (North East) and Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara (North West) shows prevalence of crisis to worse nutrition situation across the States.

“Borno State has about 18 LGAS whose nutrition status is classified in phase 3 and same for 6 LGAS in Yobe. The LGAS of Adamawa State are largely classified under pressure (Phase 2).

“In the North West States of Katsina and Zamfara, 17 and 10 LGAs respectively are in phase 3; while LGAS in Sokoto State are largely classified under phase 2. In some inaccessible areas of Borno State, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition has reached very critical levels (Phase 4 and Phase 5).

“During this current analysis period, there was no evidence to enable the objective analysis of mortality. Thus, across states, mortality outcomes were not analyzed. However, past trend indicates a steady reduction in under five Crude death rate (CDR) across the states”, it added.

According to the report, based on some factors there was serious food and nutrition insecurity challenges, “Protracted insecurity, especially, insurgency in the North-East States, mostly in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states; armed conflict, criminality and banditry in some North-West States (Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna), as well as North-Central States of Benue and Niger.

“High food inflation as evident in soaring food commodity prices (39.49% point increase in February 2023 CP1 y/y), which has limited households’ access to food.

“Loss of employment and reduction in household income due to the long-term effect of COVID-19 pandemic and displacement arising from conflict and armed banditry as evident in the crisis – emergency livelihood coping strategies adopted by most households.

“Prolonged scarcity of petroleum motor spirit (PMS), commonly called petrol, and the associated hike in pump price across the states led to astronomical rise in transport fares and cost of food products in Nigerian markets.

“Flood incidence which destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of cropped field, livestock, stocked fish ponds and stock of foods at both household and market levels, in addition to limiting market flows (supply of stock) and physical access to markets as some market routes were either washed off or submerged for a few weeks.”

Some of the recommendations the CH Report made to the Nigerian Government, humanitarian organisations and other stakeholders is the holistic and sustainable implementation of life-saving interventions on food assistance and unconditional cash transfers; Government, Civil Society Organizations and Private Actors should sustain efforts in facilitating humanitarian access to the inaccessible/hard-to-reach areas so as to provide basic assistance to those in critical need.

Sustain/promote various resilience building interventions for households through MSMEs, prioritizing the vulnerable populations to enable them to get a fresh start-up for their livelihood, as well as dry-season agricultural production inputs; Continually apply the CH analysis results as a tool for response planning, policy formulation and resource allocation to address the challenges of critical food and nutrition insecurity among vulnerable populations and zones. Thus, states should consistently strengthen and expand the composition of the State Analysis Task Force (SATF) to ensure plurality.

Meanwhile, the Country Representative of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, for Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, maintained that FAO has continued support of the Nigerian Government in terms of being in the lead to implement CH processes nationally including funding, technical support, and other in spite of limited resources.

However, Kafeero pointed that Nigeria has experienced unprecedented levels of flood disaster devastating farmlands, which about half a million hectares of cultivated lands were adversely affected.

He said: “This brought negative consequences for food production; early depletion of household and stock; leading to predictable food scarcity this year.”