Lagos — Fears are rife that if terrorism in the North is not checked, the northern economy would completely be crippled in no distant time as it has already lost about 45 percent of its trade relations with neighbouring countries, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said.
A significant chunk of local trade volume within the North has dropped and in the short run, if not checked, the already disadvantaged region would have its poverty margins widen.
The 1st Deputy National President of NACCIMA, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, painted the appalling picture to our correspondent at the sidelines of NACCIMA's briefing on developments in the economy in Lagos.
He said: "Yes, terrorism is affecting our businesses in the North. There are no statistics but I can give you some indications. On the Kano-Maiduguri axis for instance, between 35 to 45 percent of our goods are sold to the neighbouring countries - Chad, Niger, Central Africa and Cameroun.
"They were responsible for between 35 to 45 percent of trade volume. They have stopped coming to buy because of insecurity. Since the foreign buyers have stopped coming, it has affected the northern market and even the Lagos market. It affects the country generally.
"The economic losses are phenomenal. It affects the whole nation. The whole trading network in the North has been crippled. These countries are no longer buying from us.
"So, effectively, we have lost that huge market volume. The traders are no longer coming. In fact sales have dropped generally because even people living in the North hardly go out to shop because of insecurity. Also, business premises close shops earlier than elsewhere in Nigeria. All these are slowing down our businesses."