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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

Rampant insecurity persisted in North West; herder-farmer violence killed dozens; lull in violence recorded in North East and South East. In North West, armed groups continued killings and kidnappings. In Kaduna state, armed groups 1-18 Dec killed at least 25 people and abducted over 127 in several attacks; 19 Dec launched multiple raids in Giwa area, leaving 38 dead; 22 Dec reportedly abducted over 70 in Chikun area. In Zamfara state, suspected bandits 25-26 Dec attacked communities near state capital Gusau, killing seven and abducting 33. In Niger state, armed group 8 Dec killed between nine and 16 worshippers at mosque in Mashegu area. In Sokoto state, armed men reportedly loyal to prominent bandit Bello Turji 7 Dec burnt down bus in Sabon Birni area, killing at least 30 civilians; gunmen 10-11 Dec killed three and abducted at least 11 including local imam in same area. Youths 14 Dec gathered in federal capital Abuja and most north-western states to protest insecurity. In north-eastern Borno state, security operations kept Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram attacks at lower level. Military early Dec claimed air and ground operations 5 Dec killed ISWAP commander Abou Sufyan and “scores” of his fighters in Marte area. ISWAP militants 2 Dec abducted 15 including NGO local staff in Damboa area; 10 Dec attacked Civilian Joint Task Force base in Kaga area, killing two. Explosions 23 Dec left five dead in state capital Maiduguri hours before President Buhari’s visit in Borno. Herder-farmer violence continued to run high in several states. Notably, clash between ethnic Tiv farmers and Fulani herders in Gassol area of Taraba state (east) 2 Dec killed about 11 people and prompted others to flee; armed Fulani herders 17-20 Dec attacked Tiv villagers in alleged reprisal attacks in Nasarawa state (centre), reportedly leaving 45 dead. South East recorded lesser violence than in previous months. Soldiers 6 Dec clashed with separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s armed wing Eastern Security Network, which was allegedly using force to implement lockdown in Oru East area of Imo state to demand release of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu.

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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.

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Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria