How Nigeria’s Boko Haram Crackdown Harms Local Economies

Harsh Trade Restrictions Have Revived Smuggling

A man cycles past a military truck in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, August 2016. Afolabi Sotunde / REUTERS

Boko Haram’s insurgency against the Nigerian state has devastated much of the Lake Chad Basin. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes in the region, which encompasses parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and millions more face food shortages because of the collapse of local agriculture. In 2016, the World Bank estimated that the insurgency’s raids, bombings, and razing of communities throughout the region had caused $9 billion worth of destruction.

The crisis in the Lake Chad Basin has significantly altered the means by which families and communities get by. Less immediately apparent than the insurgency’s destruction are the ways in which the Nigerian government’s desperate attempts to starve Boko Haram of resources has placed an even greater burden on local populations by adding obstacles to the resumption of basic economic activities like farming and trade. In Adamawa State’s capital city of Yola, where

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