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Nigerians Feel the Squeeze of a Battered Economy

Inflation is running at 18%. For food it is 23%, the highest in two decades. More than half of Nigerians are underemployed or unemployed. Before covid-19 about 80m of Nigeria’s 200m people lived on less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day. The pandemic and population growth could see that figure rise to almost 100m by 2023, says the World Bank. Rising oil prices will bring short-term relief, but may delay essential reforms. Nigeria’s economic woes also help explain a vertiginous rise in crime. More people were kidnapped in the first four months of this year than all of last year, according to Jose Luengo-Cabrera of the World Bank. This has added to worsening violence around three flashpoints: the jihadists of Boko Haram in the north-east; a long-standing conflict between farmers and cattle-herders across central Nigeria; and fighting between government forces and Igbo separatists in the south-east.