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.
New president took steps to address economic and security crises, while jihadist, criminal and herder-farmer violence continued unabated in several states.
President Tinubu reaffirmed focus on security, economy. Tinubu 19 June replaced all service and intelligence chiefs, ensuring that new appointments reflect country’s “federal character” as required by constitution. Tinubu during first few weeks in office also took significant steps toward reforming economy, notably scrapping fuel subsidy, which prompted major price increase. Main labour union announced indefinite strike from 7 June to protest move and soaring inflation, but put it on hold after govt 5 June engaged them in negotiations. After Tinubu 9 June suspended central bank chief, Godwin Emefiele, central bank mid-June ended years-long policy of operating multiple exchange rates.
Islamist insurgents launched bold attack in Borno state in North East. Air force 6 June bombed enclave believed to be camp of notable Boko Haram leader, Ali Ngulde, in Gwoza area, reportedly killing number of insurgents but missing Ngulde; 8 June allegedly struck Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) convoy in Damboa area, killing unconfirmed number. However, suspected Boko Haram 15 and 22 June killed at least 23 civilians and abducted others in Jere and Mafa areas, suggesting that some units are still lurking in forests around state capital Maiduguri. Suspected ISWAP 30 June fired rocket-propelled grenade at Damboa town after failing to invade community, killing five people. Boko Haram and ISWAP 23 June clashed between Gajiganna and Gajiram towns in Nganzai area, with unconfirmed fatalities.
Criminal violence continued unabated in North West and North Central. In Sokoto state, gunmen around 3 June killed over 100 people in villages of Tangaza area of Sokoto state, Maradun area of Zamfara, and Katsina-Ala area of Benue state. In Niger state, armed individuals 7 June killed at least 25 farmers and abducted unconfirmed number of residents in Rafi area. Military 1-15 June reportedly killed 38 members of armed groups, mostly in Kaduna and Zamfara states.
Herder-farmer violence continued to run high in North Central. Violence arising from herder-farmer tensions 11-27 June left over 60 people dead in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Mangu areas of Plateau state.
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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