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.
Two years after the suicide of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, jihadist factions continue a battle for control of Nigeria’s north east. In this Q&A, Crisis Group assesses the situation and lays out what authorities should do in response.
Islamic State affiliate claimed rare attack outside Lake Chad Basin; tide of kidnappings for ransom continued in and around Federal Capital Territory.
Rare jihadist attack reported in central Nigeria amid continued violence in North East. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed first attack outside Lake Chad Basin since April 2022 with 2 Jan killing of four Christians in Nasarawa state’s Karu area, about 15km from federal capital Abuja; group vowed to attack non-Muslims anywhere to avenge Palestinians killed in Gaza. Meanwhile in north-eastern Borno state, Boko Haram 1 Jan killed twelve people in Gartamawa village, Chibok area, and 8 Jan attacked Gajiram town in Nganzai area, burning six people to death; two commercial vehicles 9 Jan ran over landmines along Ngala-Dikwa road in Ngala area, with eight people dead.In neighbouring Yobe state, suspected jihadist militants 5 Jan killed several people and set church ablaze in Kwari village, Geidam area.Surge in kidnappings for ransom continued in and around Abuja. FCT’s Commissioner for Public Complaints, Dalhatu Ezekiel, 15 Jan urged federal govt to declare state of emergency in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) amid spate of kidnappings for ransom, including 2 Jan abduction of man and his six daughters in Bwari area. Similar attacks also took place in adjoining states. Notably in Kaduna state, armed groups 2-7 Jan killed at least 21 people and kidnapped 143 others in three villages of Kauru area and near Katari town in Kachia area, along Abuja-Kaduna highway. Gunmen 16 Jan also abducted seventeen residents of Tafa area, Niger state.Criminal groups continued attacks and abductions in North West. In Katsina state, armed group 14 Jan stormed military camp in Nahuta town, Batsari area, forcing troops to flee; toll unknown. In Zamfara state, kidnappings for ransom 9-10 Jan targeted state’s finance ministry official and senior university lecturer in state capital Gusau. North Central saw several incidents of herder-farmer violence. Notably, gunmen 22-23 Jan killed at least 50 villagers in Plateau state, prompting 24-hour curfew and calls for authorities to curb herder-farmer violence. Suspected herders 31 Jan raided village in Agatu area, Benue state, killing at least nine people and kidnapping others.
We must take these [Nigerian presidential elections] polls with a generous amount of salt.The poll samples are small and focusing on literate people.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be sworn in as Nigeria’s president on 29 May, following an election dogged by legal challenges. With a weaker mandate than any of his predecessors, the new leader should take steps to reunite a fractured country facing numerous other problems.
In this online event, Crisis Group experts explore possible scenarios of the forthcoming Nigeria general elections.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Crisis Group’s trustee, Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist Ayo Obe, and Crisis Group's Senior Adviser Nnamdi Obasi, about Nigeria’s forthcoming elections, held amid deteriorating security and a currency crisis.
The largest, most youthful electorate in Nigerian history will head to the polls soon to decide high-stakes presidential, parliamentary and state-level races. Numerous violent incidents have already marred the campaign. Authorities can take several steps to lessen the dangers before, during and after the vote.
Authorities are keen to return or resettle the millions of people who fled homes in Borno state, the epicentre of fighting with Islamist militants in north-eastern Nigeria. But risks abound. The government should slow down its effort, focusing on protecting the displaced from further harm.
Nigeria’s forthcoming general elections, with four presidential candidates of note, will be hard fought. In this Q&A, Crisis Group outlines what is at stake and how key actors are preparing for the polls.
Vigilantes have become so important to protecting the Nigerian public that for now the country has little choice but to rely on them. Yet there are dangers. Authorities should better regulate these groups, while working to restore citizens’ trust in the police.
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