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

Series of mass abductions by bandits and jihadists underlined widespread insecurity; violence also continued in South East and Niger Delta, while deepening economic crisis heightened social tensions.

Criminal groups kidnapped hundreds and killed dozens in North West and North Central. In Kaduna state, gunmen 7 March abducted scores of students and a staff member from schools in Kuriga town, Chikun area, demanding 1bn Naira (roughly $650,000) for their return; govt 24 March said all 137 students rescued alive from neighbouring Zamfara state, but staff member died in captivity. In Kaduna state, daily reports of bandit attacks 8-17 March saw at least 190 abducted and unconfirmed number killed, mostly in Kajuru and Birnin Gwari areas; in Niger State, armed group 21 March killed 29 people in attack on local market in Rafi area.

Jihadist-related insecurity continued in North East. In Borno state, UN 6 March reported jihadists 29 Feb kidnapped over 200 internally displaced people near Gamboru Ngala town; local sources said between 113 and 319 were abducted amid conflicting reports over whether Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) were responsible. Military continued operations against jihadists reporting hundreds killed, while reports also emerged that former fighters had threatened to rejoin insurgency.

Violence continued in South East and flared in Niger Delta. Security forces continued operations against Biafran separatists in South East. Notably, troops 7 March killed twenty members of Indigenous People of Biafra armed wing Eastern Security Network, destroying major camp at Mother Valley in Orsu area, Imo state. In Niger Delta, clashes between communities over land dispute in Bomadi area of Delta state killed sixteen soldiers on peace mission 14 March, causing widespread outrage.

Deepening economic malaise heightened social tensions, risking unrest. Fears over cost of living crisis-related insecurity grew following late Feb stampede at food auction site in Lagos city that killed seven, with food inflation at over 35%. In suburb of federal capital Abuja, residents 3 March looted food items from govt warehouse. Crushes at relief distribution centre in Nasarawa state 22 March and charity giving event in Bauchi state 24 March left ten people dead.

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In The News

23 velj 2023
We must take these [Nigerian presidential elections] polls with a generous amount of salt.The poll samples are small and focusing on literate people. Reuters

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria

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Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
Nnamdi Obasi

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