Nigeria

Nigeria Key Message Update: Increase in conflict and continued COVID-19 related restrictions drive increased assistance needs, May 2020

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Prolonged and recent increases in conflict associated with Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria coupled with the lockdown measures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 have led to an increased strain on livelihoods. This has resulted in a larger than previously anticipated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance during the upcoming lean season. Many conflict-affected households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. Households that remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors are likely experiencing similar or worse food security outcomes relative to adjoining accessible areas.

Widespread conflict related to armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and communal conflict in northwestern and central states has resulted in an increase in the number of fatalities, displaced populations, and further constraints on market access. Additionally, those who are recently displaced often have difficultly accessing income to purchase food. Coupled with lockdown, curfews and border closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic substantial populations in Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Benue, and Niger states as well as in northwestern states of Katsina, Zamafara, and Sokoto states are expected to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is increasing daily across the country and as of May 28, 182 new cases and five deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. As of May 28, a total of 8,915 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed with 259 fatalities recorded across 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory with only Cross River reporting no cases. Lockdowns, curfews, and interstate border closures as well as regular handwashing and the wearing of face masks are enforced as measures to curb the spread of the disease. Curfews have been relaxed in some states allowing households to return to somewhat normal livelihoods.

Despite the impending lean season and COVID-19 associated impacts, poor households in areas that are not affected by conflict are expected to continue generally consuming own foods or purchase food to meet their food needs. This is also complemented by government palliatives including food and cash transfer targeted to about 3.6 million households. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present across much of the country. However, poor urban households who have lost their income are among those who are worse impacted by the pandemic and associated restrictions, are likely having difficulty meeting their non-food and food needs.

In the beginning of May, the crude oil production quota decreased by 400,000 barrels/day to about 1.83 million barrels/day per the OPEC quota. The decline in oil production quota in combination with the decline in oil prices has resulted in a significant decrease in government revenue and projected revenue. Similarly, the interbank exchange rate of the Naira has depreciated to 360 NGN/USD from 306 NGN/USD in the last month. The year on year inflation rate has increased from 12.26 percent in March to 12.34 percent in April. Additionally, foreign investors have started devesting in business, which has further increased demand for FOREX and pressure on foreign exchange reserves. As a result, the economy is likely to deteriorate in at least the medium term.