Nigeria

#EndSARS protest in Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s Giant. “Naija” culture, money, and hustle tower in reputation and clout across the continent. Over 200 million people—with a median age of 18—live in Nigeria. Nearly half of Nigerians live in cities and 42 percent use the internet, reflecting a rapidly transforming and dynamic population. Through reforms and elections that have built on its 1999 Constitution, Nigeria has become the fourth most populous democracy in the world—the largest in Africa. Its institutions and checks remain vulnerable however, stalked by decades of military dictatorships and the corrupt networks they fueled. These legacies limit Nigeria’s capacity and dexterity to address its diverse and serious internal security threats, including a long running militant Islamist insurgency around Lake Chad, banditry by criminal gangs near Kaduna, and a revival of militant successionist groups in the South South region. Poverty, land access disputes, and a withering petroleum-dependent economy are kindling for violence by armed groups. The Africa Center’s analyses examine how navigating these challenges goes hand-in-hand with fortifying the country’s democratic organs, avenues for youth-engagement, and security sector reforms.

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African Militant Islamist Group Violence Maintains Record Pace, though Slowing

July 27, 2021

The contours of African militant Islamist group violence are shifting, though maintaining a record pace of havoc resulting in an average of 14 violent events per day.

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32 Million Africans Forcibly Displaced by Conflict and Repression

June 17, 2021

Africa continues to experience expanding and record levels of forced displacement—a result of predatory governments, political fragmentation, and violent extremist groups.

African Youth Engaging in Peace and Security

Spotlight

African Youth Engaging in Peace and Security

By Peter Biar Ajak
April 29, 2021

Despite challenges of unemployment, corruption, entrenched political leadership, and political violence, many African youth have found constructive avenues to promote peace, effective governance, and reform.

Spotlight

Nigeria’s Diverse Security Threats

By Mark Duerksen
March 30, 2021

Nigeria faces an array of security challenges beyond Boko Haram. Distinguishing these threats and understanding their socio-geographic contours is essential for adapting customized solutions.

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The Nigerian State and Insecurity

February 17, 2021

Nigeria faces a plethora of security challenges ranging from violent extremism, to farmer-herder conflict, banditry, a revived secessionist movement, police repression, piracy, and attacks on oil infrastructure, among others. In this roundtable discussion, experts representing diplomatic, scholarly, and practitioner perspectives discuss the links between these security challenges and Nigeria’s patronage-based state institutions. Key themes were the need to rethink the structure of the Nigerian state, identify means of strengthening national identity, harness the aspirations of youth to advance governance reform, create more accountability within the security services, and avoid the militarization of every security challenge.

Confronting Nigeria’s Kaduna Crisis

Spotlight

Confronting Nigeria’s Kaduna Crisis

By Olajumoke (Jumo) Ayandele
February 2, 2021

Escalating violence in Nigeria’s North West region requires applying lessons from the fight against Boko Haram, including the need for community outreach and adapting the use of the Joint Military Task Force to unique local threats.

Militant Islamist Group Highway Attacks in and around Borno State

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Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Target Nigeria’s Highways

December 15, 2020

A rise in highway ambushes by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa pose a growing threat of isolation for Borno State’s 4 million residents.

Boko Haram Violence against Civilians Spiking in Northern Cameroon

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Boko Haram Violence against Civilians Spiking in Northern Cameroon

November 13, 2020

Northern Cameroon has experienced the sharpest spike of Boko Haram violence in the Lake Chad Basin over the past 12 months, namely in the form of attacks on civilians.

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#EndSARS Demands Nigerian Police Reform

November 10, 2020

Nigeria’s largest protests in a generation are calling for police and governance reforms—and expose long-delayed initiatives to enhance professionalism and oversight of Nigeria’s police.

COVID-19 and Africa’s Displacement Crisis

Spotlight

COVID-19 and Africa’s Displacement Crisis

By Wendy Williams
March 25, 2020

The spread of the coronavirus in Africa is intersecting with the continent’s population displacement crisis. Protecting displaced persons and migrants will be key to reducing the overall rates of transmission.

African Migrant Flows Reshaping Security Challenges in Africa

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African Migrant Flows Reshaping Security Challenges in Africa

December 18, 2019

The dynamism of clandestine African migration flows continues to present criminal and violent extremist groups opportunities for exploitation.

Security Priorities for the New Nigerian Government

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Security Priorities for the New Nigerian Government

February 25, 2019

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.

Kibera slum with condos in the background

Publication

From Urban Fragility to Urban Stability

By Stephen Commins
June 12, 2018

The growing share of Africa's urban residents living in slums is creating a further source of fragility. However, integrated urban development strategies that link local government, police, the private sector, and youth are strengthening social cohesion and enhancing stability.

Saleh Bala

Spotlight

Advancing Military Professionalism: A Discussion with Brig. Gen. Saleh Bala

October 20, 2017

In an interview with the Africa Center, retired Brig. Gen. (ret.) Saleh Bala discusses the role that training, procurement, and international partnerships play in advancing military professionalism.

An Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique boarding team member searches a simulated illegal fisherman during Exercise Cutlass Express 2013. (Photo: US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson.)

Publication

Criminality in Africa’s Fishing Industry: A Threat to Human Security

By André Standing
June 6, 2017

Conflicts of interest within Africa's fisheries sector enable unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercut the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.

“To be an effective leader, you must want to empower those following you,” says General Martin Luther Agwai in an interview with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

Spotlight

Ethical Leadership in Practice

May 19, 2017

“To be an effective leader, you must want to empower those following you,” says General Martin Luther Agwai in an interview with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

A Nigerian police officer collects N20 from a driver

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Governance, Accountability, and Security in Nigeria

By Oluwakemi Okenyodo
June 21, 2016

Most of Nigeria's security threats require security forces—especially police—that are well-governed, respected, and have effective oversight mechanisms.

pirates

Spotlight

Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

May 20, 2015

The territorial waters of most Africa states are vulnerable because sovereign control is seldom fully exercised due to inadequate maritime domain awareness and response capacity. The magnitude of the threats will increase unless African governments enhance their security capacity.

Spotlight

Nigeria’s Moment of Triumph

April 13, 2015

The outcome highlights the professionalism of the national election commission, the active engagement by civil society, and the statesmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan. While a host of governance, economic, and security issues must be faced, the smooth electoral process is a welcome milestone and vital foundation for the country as it moves forward.

Spotlight

Fundamental Security Challenges Nigeria Must Face: An 8-Part Series

March 26, 2015

After a hard-fought and competitive election, Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s 4th democratically elected president. Observers from around the world commended Nigeria for the smooth transition between rival political parties. Nigerians, neighboring countries, and international actors alike are now expectantly watching to see how Nigeria manages the many challenges facing Africa’s most populous country and largest economy.

Gabon Navy

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Combating Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

By Adeniyi Adejimi Osinowo
February 28, 2015

Stronger national, regional, and international political commitments are needed to reverse the worsening trend of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

Spotlight

No Time for a Learning Curve: Nigeria’s Crucial Success against Ebola

November 12, 2014

As soon as it discovered the presence of a sick Ebola patient, Nigerian authorities declared a national public health emergency, enabling Nigeria’s Ministry of health to establish the Ebola Emergency Operations Center (EOC), a “war-room” that fostered collaboration between Nigerian government officials, medical professionals, and international advisers. This was a crucial step in allowing the country to tap into the resources and experience of international and regional partners.

Expert Publication

Boko Haram and the Isolation of Northern Nigeria: Regional and International Implications

By Joseph Siegle
October 31, 2013

Term limit norms in Africa have been deteriorating rapidly since 2015, reversing a positive trend over the previous two decades. This trend has important implications since longer presidential tenures are linked to increased corruption, reduced civil liberties, and higher rates of conflict. Even after term limit restrictions have been lifted, there is a pattern of incumbents manipulating electoral outcomes to stay in power. This reflects the declining popularity of these leaders and points to the self-interested motivations for their extended tenures vis-à-vis broader service to the public. It further highlights that the evasion of term limits does not happen in isolation but is part of a broader pattern of undermining the rule of law and weakening democratic institutions. Failure to reverse the downturn in respect for term limits risks bringing Africa back to an era of de facto “presidents for life” and one-party states.

Left with nothing: Boko Haram’s displaced ©EU/ECHO/Isabel Coello

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Mitigating Radicalism in Northern Nigeria

By Michael Olufemi Sodipo
August 31, 2013

Mitigating radicalism, in northern Nigeria as elsewhere, requires a sustained approach targeting every stage of the radicalization spectrum.

AU Peacekeeper in Somalia

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Islamic Militancy in Africa

By Terje Østebø
November 30, 2012

The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.

Boko Haram’s Evolving Threat

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Boko Haram’s Evolving Threat

By J. Peter Pham
April 30, 2012

Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria’s marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.

Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict

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Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict

By Chris Kwaja
July 31, 2011

Navigating Nigeria's inter-communal fault lines will entail measures to mitigate ethno-religious conflict as well as realize constitutional reform.