Nigeria imported arms and ammunition worth N15.8 billion in the first half of 2022, representing a 60.3% decline compared to N39.8 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.
This is according to the breakdown of the foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Compared to the second half of 2021, Nigeria’s ammunition import declined by 71.8% from N56.1 billion recorded between July and December 2021. On an annual basis, a total of N72.49 billion was used to import weapons in 2021 as against N29.34 billion and N12.77 billion recorded in 2020 and 2019 respectively. In 2018 only N1.95 billion was used to import weapons into the country.
The increase in the purchase of weaponry is following worsening security challenges in the country, especially with the rising incidents of Boko Haram attacks and banditry in the northern region, while gunmen attacks and kidnapping continue to ravage the southern area.
Meanwhile, weapon import has decreased significantly in the review year, despite lingering security concerns affecting the lives of the populace as well as the economy. The food-producing region of the country has suffered various attacks in the past 11 years, causing a significant setback in the agricultural sector.
According to the United Nations Development Programme report titled; “Assessing the impact of conflict on development in North-East Nigeria” the country has lost an estimated 350,000 people to the conflict in the Northeastern region, with 314,000 deaths from indirect causes as of 2020.
The multiple attacks on farmers and villagers in the northern region of the country have impacted the food supply chain in the country, resulting in significant hikes in the cost of food items despite having an agricultural sector that accounts for over 25% of the annual real GDP.
Although the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) did not give reasons for the decline in arms import, it could be as a result of a cut in the government’s expenditure or improved domestic production of weaponry.