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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

Boko Haram (BH) insurgents abducted over 100 female students from school in Yobe state as military continued counter-insurgency operations in north east and herder-farmer violence continued, mostly in Benue and Adamawa states. Military 14 Feb said it had killed 186 insurgents since mid-Dec and taken “total control” of former BH stronghold Sambisa forest; 26 Feb said Nigerian and Cameroonian forces killed 35 militants and rescued 906 civilian hostages in joint operation along common border. BH continued attacks: three suicide bombers struck market in Konduga near Borno state capital, Maiduguri 16 Feb, killing at least 21 people; insurgents raided girls’ school in Dapchi town, Yobe state 19 Feb, 110 girls missing, apparently abducted. Two soldiers died from wounds inflicted by BH suicide bombers in Sambisa forest 27 Feb. Federal High Court 16 Feb released 475 people held, some since 2010, on suspicion of involvement with BH, for rehabilitation by state govts. Govt 19 Feb said 205 people convicted for BH involvement, jailed for between three and 60 years. To suppress herder-farmer violence and rural banditry, army 15 Feb launched Operation Ayem Akpatuma (“Cat Race”) to run until 31 March in six states (Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger) but violence continued: Benue state Governor Ortom 26 Feb said herders invaded Guma area previous week, killing over 60 people; herders 27 Feb attacked Gwamba village near Numan, Adamawa state, killing at least seven people; troops responded, killing ten herders. Violence flared in north-west and north-central zones: bandits 14 Feb attacked Birane village, Zamfara state, killing over 40 people; Christian and Muslim youth 26 Feb clashed in Kasuwan Magani community, Kaduna state, at least twelve killed.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

23 Feb 2018
The Dapchi incident [in Nigeria] is a major setback for hopes and expectations for a conclusive release of the remaining Chibok girls and all others still held by Boko Haram. Reuters

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
9 Feb 2018
Les forces armées tendent à employer la méthode forte et cela peut exacerber les conflits [au Nigeria] et créer de nouveaux problèmes de droits humains et de relation militaires/civils. RFI

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
12 Dec 2017
In the last five years we've had a huge increase in the number of incidents [in Nigeria], the number of casualties and the bitterness that goes with it. In many areas it's like a no man's land. NPR

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
9 Oct 2017
The decision to start the trials [in Nigeria of more than 1,600 people suspected of ties with Boko Haram] is a response to persistent complaints by local and international human rights groups over thousands of [detained] persons. Reuters

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
5 Oct 2017
[The borderlands between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are] becoming a new permanent hotbed of violence. This shows the level of organisation of these [insurgent] groups and also their confidence. Reuters

Rinaldo Depagne

Project Director, West Africa
14 Sep 2017
[The Nigerian government] needs to reverse the bad governance, economic desperation and social hopelessness that push so many youths to radical ideologues. Bloomberg

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria

Latest Updates

Watch List 2017 – Second Update

Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2017 includes entries on Nigeria, Qatar, Thailand and Venezuela. These early-warning publications identify conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

Commentary / Africa

Nigeria: Growing Insecurity on Multiple Fronts

While Nigeria confronts the humanitarian fallout of the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency and simmering separatism in the South East, crucial reforms have been stalled. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Second Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to encourage the government to prioritise engagement with regional leaders and other stakeholders.  

Op-Ed / Africa

Nigeria: How To Solve A Problem Like Biafra

Many Igbo feel politically and economically marginalised, and the government’s hardline stance is not helping.

Originally published in African Arguments

Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: New Challenges for the European Union

Despite suffering significant blows in Syria and Iraq, jihadist movements across the Middle East, North Africa and Lake Chad regions continue to pose significant challenges. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to prioritise conflict prevention at the heart of their counter-terrorism policy and continue investment in vulnerable states.

Statement / Global

Instruments of Pain: Conflict and Famine

For the first time in three decades, four countries, driven by war, verge on famine. Over coming weeks, Crisis Group will publish special briefings on Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Each conflict requires tailored response; all need increased aid and efforts to end the violence.

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Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria