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Nigeria

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

Govt shut down social media platform Twitter citing security concerns as country’s multiple violent conflicts continued. Federal govt 4 June ordered Internet providers to block access to social media platform Twitter; move came after Twitter suspended President Buhari’s account and removed post in which he vowed to “treat [Biafra secessionist groups] in the language they understand”. Numerous human rights groups protested shutdown as attempt to stifle free speech. In north west, armed groups continued attacks and mass abductions, killing over 250 and displacing thousands. In Kebbi state, 88 killed in Danko-Wasagu area 3 June and 102 kidnapped in Birnin Yauri town 17 June. In Zamfara state, at least 137 killed and over 100 abducted in Zurmi and Maru areas 6-10 June. In north east, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 6 June confirmed Boko Haram faction (JAS) leader Abubakar Shekau had killed himself in May, 26 June issued video of rival ISWAP and JAS fighters jointly pledging allegiance to Islamic State. ISWAP continued attacks in Borno state, notably on military base in Damboa area 15 June. Military 8 and 20 June repelled ISWAP attacks on Dikwa and Kumshe towns, killing at least six insurgents, 20 June killed over 20 others in Lambua forest. Herder-farmer-related violence flared in several states. Notably, gunmen 5-6 June killed at least 15 people in Igangan town in Oyo state, 6 June killed 27 in Agatu area of Benue state and 13 June killed 12 in Jos South area of Plateau state; residents and local authorities blamed attacks on herders. In south east, amid govt crackdown on outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing Eastern Security Network (ESN), govt 6 June reported killing IPOB/ESN’s “Number 1 killer-squad commander”, Dragon; 26 June reported destroying three ESN camps in Imo state. Attorney general late June said IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested abroad 27 June and brought back to Nigeria to face trial. In Niger Delta, armed group Niger Delta Avengers, dormant since 2017, 26 June announced it would resume attacks on petroleum installations.
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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

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.

Briefing / Africa

An Exit from Boko Haram? Assessing Nigeria’s Operation Safe Corridor

In 2016, Nigeria launched a program to help Boko Haram defectors reintegrate into civilian life. Rare interviews with the “deradicalisation” facility’s graduates reveal some encouraging signs but also troubling patterns that – if not addressed – could endanger the initiative’s future.

Our People

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
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