• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Mar 13, 2024, 11:02am EDT
africaAfrica
icon

Semafor Signals

Nigerians raid food warehouses as inflation soars

Insights from the Financial Times, the Africa Report, and Daily Trust

Arrow Down
Farouk Dalhatu, a tomatoes seller attends to buyer in a community market of Agodo in Lagos, Nigeria March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Seun Sanni
REUTERS/Seun Sanni
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

Unrest and looting has spread across parts of Nigeria as sky-high prices from the country’s inflation crisis have led to millions of people being unable to access affordable food. Police have been deployed to protect grain stores, some of which have been emptied as residents scramble to find food.

The nation’s inflation rate has soared, and the cost of living has skyrocketed following President Bola Tinubu’s decision last summer to cancel a fuel subsidy that Nigeria relied on.

AD
icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Millions of Nigerians expected to be food insecure this year

Source icon
Source:  
The Africa Report

The World Food Programme estimated that about 30 million Nigerians — most of them in northern Nigeria — are expected to be food insecure this year. The nation was 109th out of 125 on the Global Hunger Index last year, a ranking considered “serious.” The crisis has led people to attack trucks and food storehouses in hopes of getting something to eat, and some residents have purchased bags of maize sold by looters for far below market price. One local told The Africa Report that he regretted not taking part in the looting himself: “My neighbour bought a bag of maize there for N5,000 [$3.24],” he said. “Everybody is hungry.”

Threat of ‘uncontrolled chaos’ looms without government action

Source icon
Source:  
The Financial Times

As food insecurity grows, the social unrest “could descend into uncontrolled chaos if not carefully managed,” Afolabi Adekaiyaoja, an analyst at the Abuja-based Centre for Democracy and Development, told the Financial Times. “People are rebelling against a perceived break in the social contract between the state and society,” he said. Another analyst warned of a national emergency with potentially severe consequences for businesses. “There is growing concern within the private sector that the looting could result in the closure of businesses all round the country,” a senior analyst told the outlet.

Food storehouses become flashpoint in unrest

Source icon
Source:  
Daily Trust

Stockpiles held by the government have sparked fury amongst northern Nigerians, who have borne the brunt of the economic crisis. The storehouses have been reserved to distribute food to people during national crises — and have become a flashpoint in the unrest as people are unable to afford basic necessities. “The stark contrast between abundant reserves and communities in dire need underscores the gravity of the issue,” writer Abbas Haruna Idris noted in Nigerian outlet Daily Trust.

Semafor Logo
AD