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With over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the seventh in the world. The annual growth rate of the population is approximately 2.7 per cent, and more than half are under 30 years of age.

Nigeria is the tenth-largest producer of crude oil in the world and achieved lower-middle-income status in 2014. However, conflict in its northeast region has displaced over 3 million people and left another 4.1 million food insecure in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Three million of them are in Borno State, the epicentre of insurgency. 

The country’s human-development indicators are poor. Persistent poverty affects more than half the population, most severely in the northeast and northwest regions. In addition, Nigeria is also subject to periodic droughts and floods. This has had an adverse impact on agricultural output and increased the vulnerability of populations, especially in rural areas.

Around 110 million Nigerians, representing about 70 percent of the total population, live below the poverty line. Primary school enrolment rates are estimated at 70 percent for boys and 60 percent for girls.

Insurgent activities have added pressure to a fragile resource environment, deepened insecurity, hampered development and heightened the food and nutrition insecurity of vulnerable women and children.

While renewed government military initiatives against the insurgency are proving successful, Boko Haram attacks continue in Maiduguri city and other towns in the northeast.

Beset by violence, social disruption and economic hardship, thousands of northeastern Nigerian families are in desperate need of food assistance.

The humanitarian situation continues to worsen, as most displaced people do not have adequate access to food, water and other essentials.

The World Food Programme (WFP) supports national and state emergency agencies and humanitarian partners in assisting people displaced by conflict. WFP has been transferring operational know-how, providing technical support to strengthen food security data collection, enhancing the emergency response at displacement sites (including through food distribution), and providing safe and reliable air transport services to the humanitarian community.

WFP runs a joint Rapid Response Mechanism, with support from UNICEF, to supply food, nutrition and health support to people in hard-to-reach areas in Borno and Yobe states. This includes extensive use of helicopters and the pooling of logistics and telecommunications resources across the humanitarian community.

WFP distributes food and cash (including mobile-phone-based transfers) to 1.2 million people each month in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno. Those receiving assistance include displaced people living in camps or host communities, as well as vulnerable members of host communities and people returning home after months of displacement.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Nigeria

Food assistance
WFP uses either food or cash transfers to support displaced people living in camps or with host communities, as well as vulnerable host populations. WFP is scaling up its operations to reach 1.7 million people every month.
WFP assists with specialized nutritious food children under 5 at risk of malnutrition, and pregnant and nursing women. Jointly with UNICEF and ACF, WFP delivers an integrated package of essential health and nutrition services to prevent and treat acute malnutrition. Surveys in IDP camps in Maiduguri, Borno state, show a dramatic drop in malnutrition rates. However, these still remain high in more remote areas.
In collaboration with the Government of Nigeria and other partners, WFP is implementing livelihoods programmes and income-generating activities. We give cash support that supports people in the short term, while providing training so displaced people can acquire skills and employment in the long term in areas such as food processing, aquaculture, vegetable gardening, tailoring and carpentry.
Logistics and emergency telecommunications
WFP supports the humanitarian community in northeast Nigeria in addressing the main logistics and telecommunication gaps, including improving storage in key operational areas. Since January 2022, the Emergency Telecommunications Service (ETS) has provided reliable internet to over 2,750 users from over 90 organizations, including many United Nations agencies and NGOs across northeast Nigeria. ETS connectivity and security communication services reopened in mid-2022 at the International Organization for Migration-hosted Dikwa humanitarian hub, following closure in early 2021 due to a security incident. To enhance security and communication, ETS has provided VHF radio and satellite phone to humanitarian staff.
UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
WFP provides air transport to the entire humanitarian community, including helicopters to carry vital relief – vaccines, medicine, medical equipment and staff – to hard-to-reach, isolated areas. The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) was transporting over 4,650 passengers a month in mid-2022. UNHAS also transported over 12 mt of light humanitarian cargo. There are currently over 150 organizations benefiting from UNHAS passenger and cargo services in Nigeria.

Partners and donors

Achieving Zero Hunger is the work of many. Our work in Nigeria is made possible by the support and collaboration of our partners and donors, including:
Canada European Commission France Japan Sweden




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