Nigeria’s president said he plans to address rising banditry and kidnapping in the country to safeguard food security in Africa’s most-populous nation.
The government “will use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits to ensure that they did not create havoc against access to farms and food production in the coming growing season,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in an emailed statement on Thursday. Security agencies are working to ensure people can work safely on farms in order to have food surpluses, including for export, he said.
The conflict and banditry have added to food-supply constraints, further pushing up costs already fueled by import restrictions. Food prices are growing at the fastest pace in more than 15 years and consumer inflation was 18.2% in March.
Nigerian food costs are rising at the fastest pace since late 2005
Nigeria has faced a spate of kidnappings and killings since last year, especially of students that have shut down hundreds of schools in the north of the country. That’s in addition to a decade-long war against Islamist insurgents in the northeast, a worsening conflict between nomadic cattle herders and crop farmers in the central and southern regions, and a new separatist rebellion in the southeast.
Buhari met with military and other intelligence officials earlier this week to discuss the growing insecurity. Governors have urged the president to address the nation on how he’s dealing with the crisis.