As Belgium reels from the recent terror attacks and the likes of Burkina Faso are still coming to terms with the hotel siege that saw at least 30 people killed in January, a recently published report highlights the heavy toll that terrorist activities can take from both a human and broader socio-economic perspective.
The report, says Nigeria’s This Day, which is part of a Post-Insurgency Recovery and Peace-building Assessment, an intervention programme involving the World Bank, European Union and the UN with the six northeastern states, found that about 20,000 people have been killed since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State, putting the cost of destruction at an estimated USD 5.9bn.
The report laid bare the extent of the damage since the insurgency began in 2009 and which at one point saw the Islamists control swathes of territory across the north-east.
Assessments in each of the states were carried out in areas including education, health care, water, sanitation, housing, municipal buildings, energy, environment, transport, economy and business. In Borno, sources conversant reportedly said that some 20,000 citizens are thought to have been killed during the violence – a higher figure than previous estimates. In addition, the majority of the more than 2 million internally displaced persons came from the state.
In the 27 local government districts that make up the state, the fighting destroyed or damaged the following: 956,453 (nearly 30%) out of 3,232,308 private houses;5,335 classrooms and school buildings in 512 primary, 38 secondary and two tertiary institutions; 1,205 municipal, local government or ministry buildings; 76 police stations; 35 electricity offices. Others include 14 prison buildings; 201 health centres; 1,630 water sources; 726 power sub-stations and distribution lines. In some areas such as Bama, the destruction was near total, with only 20% of houses unscathed. The report also estimated that parks, game, forest and grazing reserves, orchards, river basins and lakes have been poisoned in 16 of the 27 areas, and 470,000 livestock killed or stolen.
The source close to the Borno State Government said the report has yet to be approved by the World Bank and a decision was expected soon on funding. The federal and the six state governments are also expected to provide counterpart funds to demonstrate commitment.
But given the cost of the damage – about USD 5.9bn – and Nigeria’s struggling economy caused by the global oil shock, matching external funding for reconstruction could be problematic, the source added. The World Bank in Nigeria reportedly declined to comment. Boko Haram remains a major concern not just for Nigeria but indeed in the neighbouring countries and will continue to be a major headache for the Buhari administration which despite claims to the contrary, is struggling to achieve its promise to wipe out the insurgency.