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Nigeria is confronted by multiple security challenges, notably the resilient Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the north east, long-running discontent and militancy in the Niger Delta, increasing violence between herders and farming communities spreading from the central belt southward, and separatist Biafra agitation in the Igbo south east. Violence, particularly by the Boko Haram insurgency, has displaced more than two million people, created a massive humanitarian crisis, and prompted the rise of civilian vigilante self-defence groups that pose new policy dilemmas and possible security risks. Crisis Group seeks to help the Nigerian government by shedding new light on the country’s security challenges, de-escalating risks and tension, and encouraging regional and gender-specific approaches toward ending the violence durably.

CrisisWatch Nigeria

Unchanged Situation

Armed groups continued attacks on farming communities, kidnap for ransom and cattle rustling in North West states; security situation remained dire in North East and South East. In Kaduna state, gunmen 5 June raided several villages in Kajuru area, killing at least 32 residents; 19 June killed eight people and kidnapped 38 others in raids on two churches in same area. In Zamfara state, gunmen 6-7 June abducted former state electoral commissioner, Sanusi Wanzamai Sanusi, and killed at least five villagers in attacks in Tsafe area; 11 June abducted about 50 people after ambushing them along Sokoto-Gusau highway. In Kebbi state, about 200 armed men around 14 June reportedly attacked a dozen villages in Danko-Wasagu area, killing at least five and rustling at least 2,000 cows. Gunmen around 22 June abducted 22 people within Federal Capital Territory. In Borno state in North East, security forces continued battling Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram (BH). Notably, army 7 June said it had killed over a dozen BH fighters in Konduga area. Both groups however continued attacks on military and civilians. Notably, ISWAP claimed killing four soldiers in 7 June attack on military barracks in Banki town (Bama area) near Cameroonian border; suspected ISWAP combatants 8 June reportedly killed at least 23 civilians in Dikwa area; BH or ISWAP 16 June fired mortar bombs into internally displaced persons camp in Bama area, killing at least 11. ISWAP also continued spreading its operations beyond North East. Notably, group 4 June claimed 2 June bomb attack that killed one in Okene area of Kogi state (North Central). Meanwhile in South West, 5 June attack on Catholic church in Owo town, Ondo state, killed at least 40 people; federal govt blamed ISWAP, which state govt disputed. Separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra’s armed wing, Eastern Security Network (ESN), continued almost daily attacks on govt forces in South East despite latter’s efforts to subdue them: in Enugu state, gunmen 2 June killed two policemen in Igbo Eze North area; in Anambra state, joint security operation around 25 June destroyed ESN camps in Nnewi South area.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

5 Jul 2021
The persistent targeting of schools in [Kaduna] suggests the armed groups may be trying to break the state government’s resolve not to pay ransom to criminal groups. The Guardian

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
16 Mar 2021
The [Nigerian] military [has] yet to achieve decisive results against the insurgents in the northeast and various armed groups in the northwest. Al Jazeera

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
1 Mar 2021
Les gouverneurs locaux [au Nigéria] insistent pour dire qu’aucune rançon n’a jamais été versée, mais c’est très difficile à croire. Le Monde Afrique

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
28 May 2019
Massive unemployment [in Nigeria] has created a growing army of unemployed youth, vulnerable to recruitment in the criminal industry. BBC

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
12 Feb 2019
Stakes are high for Nigeria and the region. A vote marred in controversy and violence inevitably would hinder efforts to address the country’s security and economic challenges. African Arguments

Robert Malley

Former President & CEO
14 Jan 2019
While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join [Boko Haram] in the first place. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Spring Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Bolivia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine and Yemen.

Report / Africa

Ending Nigeria’s Herder-Farmer Crisis: The Livestock Reform Plan

Nigeria’s latest plan for curbing herder-farmer conflict is facing obstacles, including staff and funding shortages as well as political opposition. If this initiative fails, there could be more rural violence. Abuja should work with donors to raise both money and awareness of the scheme’s benefits.

Our People

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria