By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria has lost at least $18 billion in farming revenue due to the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s northeast, a presidential spokesman said.
The violence, which erupted in 2009, was partly responsible for the poor state of the economy, Garba Shehu said in a statement, adding that widespread corruption and a lack of government planning had also taken their toll.
“The presidency asserts that the devastation of the economy was caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption and the lack of planning by past administrations and one that should not be blamed on the change agenda of the Buhari administration,” he said Monday, referring to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government estimates that Nigeria’s three northeastern states have lost around $9 billion over the last seven years because of Boko Haram.
According to the statement, Buhari has ordered the release of 10,000 tonnes of grain from the national reserves to counter food price increases and the “intolerably high exploitation of common people by the trader-class”.
The over two million people have been displaced in the northeast region, where farming is the main source of income, Shehu said.
In addition to the Boko Haram conflict, Nigeria is also facing renewed militant attacks in the Niger Delta that threaten its oil and gas revenues. Shehu promised decisive action against the militants.
He added that fuel scarcity in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, would be addressed by restoring local refineries and encouraging private investment in new oil refineries.