October 17, 2017
News /
Posted by NCID

Dr. Arinze Nwokolo presented his thesis Essays in Development Economics: On Civil Conflict in Nigeria last Monday 16th of October at the University of Navarra. His doctoral study focused on the economic costs of the three-front conflict in Nigeria: the oil in the south, the Boko Haram in the north and the Fulani in the middle belt of the country.

Almost three-quarters of Nigeria’s GDP relies on the oil industry. In such a highly dependent country on the oil industry, attacks on both onshore and offshore oil infrastructure pose a serious threat to the economy. “I wanted to know how changes in international oil prices affect civil conflict in Nigeria,” said Dr. Nwokolo. His analysis showed that a positive increase in oil price leads to an escalation of attacks by militants in the Niger Delta. “They are more likely to attack civilians and the government because of resource rents,” added Dr. Nwokolo. His main conclusion is that if Nigeria needs to diversify its source of income, it is not only for the benefit of its economy, but also to break the violent cycle of attacks between the government and the Niger Delta militants. “If oil is less important for the economy the government wouldn't retaliate as harshly as they currently do,” he explained.

Moving north, Dr. Nwokolo analyzed how attacks from Boko Haram affect birth outcomes. “We find that the birth weight reduces in the first trimester by eleven grams and by four grams in the third trimester.” “This shows that Boko Haram’s activities are not only costly in terms of the number of deaths but also affect children that are exposed during pregnancy,” he added. The long-term effects of the Boko Haram attacks is an area for future study. Dr. Nwokolo expressed his interest in studying the possible effects of terror on education, employment and mental health of households that live in areas with high terror intensity. 

The third part of the doctoral study analyzed which coping strategies do families that are exposed to the conflict victimization take to care of food consumption. “We found that households exposed to conflict experienced a 17% reduction in food consumption,” he said. “However, victimized households receive remittances and save money with informal groups. The increase in conflict between 2010 and 2016 is related to the activities of three groups as mentioned earlier. In 2014 the Fulani militants killed 847 people, a 92% of which were private citizens, and were ranked the fourth deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index.

The tribunal was formed by five prestigious experts in the field: Professor Javier Gardeazabal from the University of the Basque Country; Professor Christos Kollias from University of Thessaly, Greece; Professor Macartan Humphreys  from Columbia University and WZB, Berlin; Associate Professor Mirko Abbritti from University of Navarra and Associate Professor Pedro Mendi also from University of Navarra. Dr. Nwokolo’s work was awarded an outstanding grade by the tribunal.