A total curfew was imposed on Sunday in a state in northeastern Nigeria where hundreds of residents engaged in massive looting of shops and public warehouses where food was stored, authorities said.
Teenagers living on the street started the looting , but were soon joined by hundreds of residents who entered these places where food, especially cereals, was stored before taking them away.
“Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has issued a 24-hour curfew…with immediate effect ,” his spokesman, Humwashi Wonosikou , said on Sunday . “With the curfew imposed, there will be no movement statewide” .
Local police also said security personnel had been deployed to enforce the curfew and prevent future looting.
Nigeria , the most populous country in Africa and the continent’s largest economy, has been facing a serious economic crisis since 2016, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic , then the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
Nearly half of its 215 million people live in extreme poverty (on less than $2 a day) despite its huge oil reserves .
For the past two months, poverty has worsened in the country as the new president Bola Tinubu has taken a series of economic measures aimed at reviving long-term investments, but with serious effects on household wallets.
Last month, the president notably ended fuel subsidies , causing gas prices to quadruple, and indirectly skyrocketing food prices.
In mid-July, he announced a “State of emergency on food security” , promising massive investments in agriculture, and money transfers to the poorest.
Earlier this year, the UN already predicted that more than 25 million Nigerians would be at “high risk” of food insecurity in 2023, not counting recent inflation .
Northeast Nigeria is particularly affected by food insecurity, as a 14-year-old conflict between the army and jihadist groups has displaced millions of people there and driven farmers away from their land.