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.
Supreme Court upheld President Tinubu’s election win, while levels of criminal, jihadist and separatist violence remained high across country.
Tinubu’s presidential win confirmed. Supreme Court 26 Oct refused to overturn Feb election of Bola Tinubu as president, ending legal challenge brought by his rivals, who had argued vote was flawed and Tinubu was not qualified to run.
Suspected jihadists launched deadly attacks in North East. Suspected Islamic State West Africa Province militants 30-31 Oct shot at villagers and set off land mine in Gaidam area of Yobe state, killing at least 37 people. After Bauchi state in Sept reported rising violence, state governor 9 Oct said 67 armed group members killed and 29 abductees rescued during recent security operation in Tafawa Balewa area; attacks continued in Bauchi, however, with gunmen 15 Oct killing nine members of vigilante group in Ningi area. Meanwhile, pro-govt militia group Civilian Joint Task Force 1 Oct announced dismissal of founding leader Lawan Jafar over corruption allegation; move may hamper operations against jihadist groups in North East due to Jafar’s standing among militia members.
Criminal violence continued unabated in North West and North Central zones. Security operations against armed groups, including 10-11 Oct air strikes in Maru area of Zamfara state, remained inadequate to stem attacks and mass abductions. Notably, gunmen 16 Oct killed three and abducted 50 in mining village in Anka area, Zamfara. States of Kaduna, Benue, Niger and Nasarawa in Oct also saw abductions and killings by armed groups.
Targeted killings continued in South East. Following several attacks in Sept on security and state officials in Imo state, suspected Biafra separatists mid-Oct hacked to death Ebonyi state university official during visit to Imo town. Meanwhile, two major factions of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist group issued contradictory messages on future plans; self-proclaimed PM of Biafra Republic Government in Exile, Simon Ekpa, who in Aug declared himself commander of new Biafra Liberation Army, 5 Oct said Biafran authorities would “soon start full government”; however, mainstream faction two days later said group was open to talks with federal govt on Biafran independence, offering opportunity for Tinubu to start dialogue.
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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