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

Jihadist-related insecurity persisted in North East, while bandits continued killings and mass abductions; worsening inflation heightened food crisis fears. 

Violence between jihadists and military remained high in North East. Govt conducted operations involving artillery and aerial bombardment against Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram militants around Lake Chad and Sambisa Forest in Borno state. Notably, army said airstrikes 13 April killed over 30 ISWAP members and commanders and destroyed vehicles in Kolleram village on lake. However, in Borno state, explosive devices apparently planted by ISWAP fighters 17 April struck bus in Kukawa area, killing sixteen civilians and wounding twenty others and 27 April struck vehicle in Gamboru area, killing at least nine civilian vigilantes.

Criminal groups continued mass abductions in North West and North Central. Despite govt security operations, particularly in Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states, bandit-related violence remained prolific. Notably, in Katsina, gunmen on motorcycles 16 April abducted at least twenty persons in Na-Alma village, Malmufashi area while armed group 18 April kidnapped at least 28 from at Zamfarawar Madogara village, Batsari area. Armed gangs 19 April killed six soldiers in Shiroro area, Niger state and 27 April killed at least fourteen civilian vigilantes in Isa area, Sokoto state. Herder-farmer violence persisted in North Central zone; series of attacks on farming communities 4-28 April in Benue, Kogi and Plateau states killed over 90 people; residents blamed herder militias. 

Separatist movements continued in South East and South West. Although security in South East improved, military blamed Biafra separatists for 18 April attack on troops in Ihiala area, Anambra state that killed soldier. In Oyo state in South West, armed members of Yoruba Nation – organisation calling for breakaway of Yoruba people from Nigeria – 13 April stormed govt secretariat and parliament in capital Ibadan and hoisted flag of self-proclaimed Democratic Republic of Yoruba, before security forces arrested them.

Concerns rose over food crisis amid deepening economic problems. As inflation rose to 28-year high on 15 April with food inflation at 40%, humanitarian agencies warned of worsening food insecurity; UN 5 April reported analysis tool showed 31.8mn people face acute food crisis by June, 28% increase on same period last year.

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In The News

23 ဖေဖော်ဝါရီလ 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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