The United Nations (UN) has pointed at the COVID-19 pandemic as the escalator of security challenges in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
The international body noted that going by the extent of violent crimes in the continent during the lockdown, it is easy to conclude that the pandemic had no negative effect on insurgents who have even increased their killing spree recently, Punch reports.
This submission was put forward on Thursday, December 3, at the National Institute for Security Studies in Abuja by the special representative of the UN’s secretary-general for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
According to Chambas’ research, the increased activities of Boko Haram and the ISWAP within the Lake Chad region came as a result of losses in the ranks of defence and security forces of Nigeria, Chad and Niger republic.
“The overall security situation in the region grew in complexity due to exacerbation of conflicts by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected national response capacity to insecurity and further radicalized the narrative of extremist groups, who blamed governments for the impact of the health crisis on populations.
“Additionally, militants’ have attempted to win over local populations by portraying the pandemic as punishment against non-believers going further to provide their version of psycho-social support to populations of cutting areas where they control in Lake Chad Basin and the tri-border areas of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
“The terrorist groups in West Africa and the Sahel failed or refused to adhere to the appeal of the Secretary-General for a global cessation of hostilities or ceasefire due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”