The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says the conflict in the North-East could amount to the loss of 1.1 million Nigerian lives by 2030 if the current investment deficit in development is not addressed.
The more than one decade of insurgency has directly resulted in the deaths of approximately 35,000 people and the destruction of several private and public property.
A new UNDP report warned that indirect deaths, including disease and hunger resulting from the conflict’s physical and economic destruction, already far outnumber those from direct causes.
The study, “Assessing the Impact of Conflict on Development” noted that critical aspects of development, including Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty, malnutrition, infant mortality, education, water availability and sanitation, may not return to pre-conflict levels even by 2030.
The findings show that for each casualty caused directly by insurgency, an additional nine people, mostly children, have lost their lives due to a lack of food and resources.
Consequently, at least 90 percent of conflict-attributable deaths are of children under the age of five.
The report regretted that the physical and economic destruction caused by the insurgency dismantled fragile health and food systems.
It said below 60 percent of health facilities in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States are fully functional, while a quarter is either completely destroyed or non-functional.
1.8 million Nigerians, according to the UN body, are displaced in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States, with the vast majority located in Borno. Also, 1.8 million students were out of school in 2020.
UNDP observed Nigeria has made great strides in stabilizing some areas of the region and called for additional investment from national and international stakeholders.
“Without continued investment in development as a long-term solution, the protracted conflict in north-east Nigeria will continue to impact other parts of the country and the entire Sahel region,” said UNDP Resident Representative Mohamed Yahya.
The official said funds are invested not only on life-saving and humanitarian needs but also on mid-and long-term development priorities to Nigeria to help achieve the SDGs and attain the AU 2063.