Development efforts to stabilize conflict-affected regions should focus on a wider geographic area than those that are most fragile. Strengthening the resilience of outlying regions can help prevent deterioration in these locations while providing a more solid base of support for areas affected by crisis. This may require intensifying agriculture and strengthening markets in peri-urban and rural areas where displaced persons are living. Private sector investments can also be encouraged in these areas by reducing the risks investors face. Development efforts must simultaneously amplify the voices of effective local leaders and institutions while improving public sector effectiveness.
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From Boko Haram to farmer-herder conflicts, ethno-religious tensions, separatist movements, urban crime, and national identity, Nigeria experts size up the security priorities facing the Buhari government in its second term.
Chinese demand for Nigerian rosewood has created a lucrative, yet illegal commercial logging sector in Nigeria’s eastern states. The Nigerian government has chosen profits over environmental protection or the rule of law. Corruption that ranges from bribery of forestry guards to misrepresentation of logging shipments bound for Chinese ports has created the conditions for illegal logging to continue—at least until resources run out and loggers move to the next state. The extensive environmental impacts of illegal logging include increased flooding, erosion, and the removal of animal and plant ecosystems, which leaves certain species facing extinction. Illegal logging also denies communities a source of food and livelihoods.
Most of Nigeria's security threats require security forces—especially police—that are well-governed, respected, and have effective oversight mechanisms.
Interviews with former Boko Haram members suggest many initially joined for strategic reasons, not religious ones: for example, in order to get business support or as a result of frustration with government inadequacy.
Biola Shotunde has been a member of the Africa Center alumni community since 2008, when she participated in the Combating Terrorist Financing in North and West Africa Program and the 2009 Community Leadership Conference. Mrs. Shotunde most recently earned her Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies and War College Diploma in 2015 after a... Continue Reading
Asymmetric Warfare: Reflections on the Responses of Security Forces to Boko Haram Insurgency in Northern Nigeria
The Nigerian government has undertaken a range of actions to combat Boko Haram’s asymmetric insurgency in the country’s northeast: roadblocks, raids, surveillance, patrols, and deradicalization. Nearly all have followed an enemy-centric rather than population-centric approach, despite the fact that many of the factors constraining success are tied directly to the security forces’ operational capacity. For instance, poor coordination, inability to effectively deliver appropriated funds and equipment, enemy penetration, and porous borders all hindered successful counter-enemy actions. However, if Nigeria had instead emphasized a population-centric approach to counterinsurgency, it is possible that such efforts would not have faced as many headwinds.
A common theme for virtually all of Nigeria’s security challenges is poor governance. Until the Nigerian government earns the confidence and trust of its citizens, any security gains realized will not be sustained.
Nigeria has been developing its maritime security strategy to address piracy and crime in its waters. Strengthening maritime domain awareness must be a top priority.
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance Chadian troops and South African mercenaries were at the forefront of the push in early 2015 to expel Boko Haram from towns the group had... Continue Reading
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance The date was June 11, 2009. Nearly 20 unarmed Boko Haram motorcyclists were fatally shot by police for refusing to wear safety helmets. The episode... Continue Reading
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance Boko Haram emerged in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in Nigeria’s Northeast Region. Initially organized as a sect under the leadership of... Continue Reading