While conflict has somewhat decreased in the Northeast in recent months, overall conflict continues at high levels across not only the Northeast but all of northern Nigeria. Overall, the continued conflict is driving disruptions to livelihood activities and the ongoing harvest for millions of households. Moreover, these households and other market-dependent households have difficulty accessing food due to high staple food prices. Conflict, the poor macroeconomy, and below-average purchasing power is expected to drive declining food access in early 2022 as household food stocks run out, increasing the level of need across the country.
Displaced households, particularly in Maiduguri, continue to return to their homesteads facilitated by the government and humanitarian partners. Households receive a resettlement package, including food and cash. This assistance is expected to support food access and to help households rebuild their livelihoods. A few IDP camps have been closed, including Bakassi, NYSC, MOGOCOLIS, and Farm Center. The remaining ten official IDP camps within the greater Maiduguri area are likely to be closed before the end of 2021.
Across the Northeast, households with access to land and agricultural inputs are consuming own-produced foods; however, food stocks are likely to be exhausted in the next month or two. Additionally, many households remain market reliant as they were unable to engage in the harvest. Households in areas less affected by conflict and who are able to engage in limited production or access some market foods are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least mid-May 2022. In worst conflict-affected areas, where households remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors with limited access to income opportunities and constrained cultivation are likely to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
Despite ongoing security measures, many farmers face difficulty accessing their fields to harvest crops. Recently, bandits have increased the demand for levies from farmers to harvest their crops. This is driving declines in both food and income access from own production. In communities where taxes are not paid, crops are destroyed or looted. In some of the worst-affected areas of Zamafar state, entire villages or communities have relocated to relatively safer areas abandoning their farms, with some farmers traveling to their farms daily to harvest their crops. Key informants indicate that many farming communities in Zamfara state are unable to harvest crops. Many communities in the worst-affected areas are under the control of the bandits, and these areas are difficult to access.
Communal conflict, banditry, kidnapping, and military operations increased in November across the Northwest and some neighboring areas of northcentral Nigeria, where Zamfara state remains the epicenter. In late November, many travelers were kidnapped along the Abuja-Kaduna road, bandits attacks have been observed in Shiroro LGA of Niger state, and communal conflict reportedly took place in Plateau and Benue States. Bandits have increased roadblocks and toll collections in Zamfara state, further reducing people movement. Despite increasing insecurity and conflict, livestock markets have been re-opened in Zamfara State, and telecommunication services have been restored in Kaduna state. In other parts of the Northwest, restrictions including the shutdown of telecommunication services, restrictions on population movement, and closure of markets continue. Key informants indicate the displaced population is increasing due to continued conflict. Areas worst-affected by conflict are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes which are expected to persist through at least mid-2022.
Macroeconomic conditions have continued to improve in November alongside increasing international oil prices and demand, contributing to higher foreign reserves. The annual inflation rate in October declined for the seventh consecutive month to 15.99 percent. Although, NGN continues to depreciate on the parallel market due to high demand for foreign exchange. Lastly, domestic fuel prices remain high, leading to high transportation costs. Despite a decline in staple food prices, they remain well above average in most markets monitored, driven by high transportation costs and the continued poor macroeconomic conditions. There is some concern that macroeconomic conditions could decline further with the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant, which drove global oil prices down in late November.