Nigeria lost an estimated $2.8 billion in the second half of 2018 largely as a result of oil and maritime crimes, including piracy, a report released by United Nations Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) last Monday in New York states.
The report, which covered a six months period from July 1 to December 31, 2018, said these activities, which occurred off the coast of West Africa, had inhibited the development and tranquillity in the region.
Between January 1 and November 23 2018, there were 82 reported cases of maritime crimes and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the report stated, adding that the incidences of drug trafficking in the length and breadth of West Africa and the Sahel gained more prominence in 2018 compared to 2017.
The weight of cocaine seized from traffickers in Nigeria, Benin Republic and Gambia was more than 50 kilograms, the report said. Joint interdiction task forces seized more than 6kg of methamphetamines, 2.6 tonnes of cannabis and 8kg of heroine, which is 50% higher than the quantity confiscated in the first half of 2018, the report noted. It added that drug production was becoming more severe as 100kg of hard drugs are under the grasp of authorities within the region.
The report stated that outburst of violence was recorded in a number of states across the federation especially in the Middle Belt and North-East zone, while that clash between Fulani herdsmen and farmers was prominent in the period covered.
However, Gbenga Ojewoye, a political economist, pointed that the violent crises between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers is not a strange phenomenon in Nigeria as the crises have been in existence for decades.
Lack of effective policies on land management, limited enforcement of existing pastoral laws, climate change adaptation policies, political and economic interests, abrasion of traditional conflict resolution strategies and illegal acquisition of arms and ammunition are responsible for the conflicts, the report said. Other contributory factors include demographic pressures, desertification as well as loss of grazing reserves and transhumance routes, it said.
Within the timeframe covered, the report noted that conflicts between farmers and herders led to extensive loss of lives, properties, livelihood, population displacements and human rights infringements and abuses.
UNOWAS works closely with the African Union, ECOWAS and other regional partners to support region-wide solutions to cross-cutting threats to peace and security, such as terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crimes, piracy and maritime insecurity.