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Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria

Crisis Group Role

Nnamdi Obasi is Crisis Group's Nigeria Senior Adviser. He first worked with Crisis Group from 2006 to 2010, then returned to the organization in 2013. Working under Crisis Group’s West Africa Project, he leads Crisis Group’s research, policy prescriptions and advocacy in Nigeria.

Areas of Expertise

Nnamdi has worked on Nigeria’s security and governance challenges for virtually all his working life. For Crisis Group, he has researched and written on:

  • Militancy and violence in the Niger Delta
  • Boko Haram insurgency
  • Herder-farmer violence in central Nigeria
  • Shi’ite-government tensions
  • Biafra separatist agitation
  • Election violence
  • Military reform

Professional Background

Before joining Crisis Group in 2006, he was Senior Research Fellow and later Head of Department of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs at the Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, National Defence College, Abuja. Between 1984 and 1994, he worked as a journalist on the editorial board of Concord Newspapers in Lagos, then the largest-selling newspaper in sub-Saharan Africa.

He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Demography and Social Statistics from Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in Nigeria. He also holds a Certificate in Facilitation of Peacekeeping Training from Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana.

Select Publications

Obasi has authored two books: Ethnic Militias, Vigilantes and Separatist Groups in Nigeria (2002) and Small Arms Proliferation and Disarmament in West Africa (2002). He has also contributed to several books and peer-reviewed publications on conflicts, peace operations, small arms and organised crime in West Africa. He is frequently interviewed by Nigerian and international media, and regularly consulted by international organisations working on Nigeria.


  • English (fluent)
  • Ibo (native)

In The News

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
3 Oct 2018
The fact that some of the recent attacks [in Nigeria] specifically targeted military bases shows they were deliberate, not opportunistic. Bloomberg

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
9 Apr 2018
Given the [Nigerian] government’s continuing inability to impose its own solution to the conflict [with Boko Haram] ... the government’s exploration of dialogue [with] the insurgents is understandable. Anadolu Agency

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
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

Latest Updates

Q&A / Africa

Winning Back Trust in Nigeria’s Rescheduled Elections

Only hours before polls were to open, Nigeria’s electoral commission postponed elections scheduled for 16 February by one week. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Nigeria expert Nnamdi Obasi says the commission and other authorities must act now to win back trust and reduce risks of violence.

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

Commentary / Africa

Buhari’s Nigeria: Boko Haram Off Balance, but Other Troubles Surge

The peaceful election in March 2015 of President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general, raised hopes that some of Nigeria’s most pressing security problems could soon be tamed. One year later, the new government has struck at the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency. But Nigeria is sliding deeper into other difficulties.