ecoi.net featured topic on Nigeria: Security Situation

Please note: In ecoi.net’s English interface, the featured topics are presented in the form of direct quotations from documents. This may lead to non-English language content being quoted. German language translations/summaries of these quotations are available when you switch to ecoi.net’s German language interface.

1. Background Information
2. Central Nigeria and Abuja
2.1. Background Information
2.2. Current Situation
3. Northeastern States (Boko Haram and IS-West Africa)
3.1. Background Information
3.2. Current Situation
4. Nortwestern States (kidnappping for ransom and violence of armed groups)
4.1. Background Information
4.2. Current Situation
5. Southern Nigeria, Biafra and the Niger Delta (Piracy, criminality, militant groups, separatist movement, Police violence)
5.1. Background Information
5.2. Current Situation
6. Further Information on the security situation in Nigeria
7. Sources

1. Background Information

“Nigeria hat über 190 Millionen Einwohner·innen. Damit lebt fast die Hälfte der Bevölkerung Westafrikas in Nigeria. Die Wirtschaft des Landes ist weitgehend von den Einnahmen aus dem Erdölgeschäft abhängig. Der rückläufige Ölpreis, interne Konflikte und der Wertverfall der Landeswährung haben Nigeria in eine Rezession geführt. Zwar erholt sich die Konjunktur allmählich, doch ein inklusives Wirtschaftswachstum liegt in weiter Ferne. Mehr als zwei Drittel der Bevölkerung leben nach wie vor in extremer Armut.” (GIZ, 31 December 2020)[i]

“Nigeria ist mit mehr als 200 Millionen Einwohnern der bevölkerungsreichste Staat Afrikas. Die Bevölkerung wächst derzeit jährlich um circa 2,6 Prozent. Die Vereinten Nationen (United Nations, UN) gehen von einer Verdopplung der Bevölkerung auf 400 Millionen Menschen bis zur Mitte des Jahrhunderts aus. Die Stadt Lagos ist mit ihren rund 14 Millionen Einwohnern das wirtschaftliche Zentrum des Landes und zugleich die zweitgrößte Stadt des afrikanischen Kon­tinents, die Hauptstadt ist Abuja. Etwa die Hälfte der Bevölkerung lebt in ländlichen Gebieten.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 1)[ii]

“Nigeria ist die größte Volkswirtschaft des afrikanischen Kontinents und gehört zu den wichtigsten Erdölproduzenten weltweit. Doch trotz hoher Einnahmen aus der Rohstoffindustrie und wirtschaftspolitischer Reformen ist es den nigerianischen Regierungen bislang nicht gelungen, spürbare Verbesserungen für die Menschen im Land zu erreichen.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 2)

“Mehr als die Hälfte der Bevölkerung lebt nach wie vor in extremer Armut. Die durchschnittliche Lebenserwartung ist mit rund 54 Jahren eine der niedrigsten weltweit. Die Analphabetenquote liegt bei etwa 40 Prozent.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 2)

“Hinzu kommen Defizite in der Regierungsführung, ein hohes Maß an Korruption, ein geringes Wirtschaftswachstum und eine marode Infrastruktur. Hohe Arbeitslosigkeit, große soziale Ungleichheiten und mangelnde Zukunftsperspektiven sorgen zudem für Spannungen innerhalb der Gesellschaft und tragen dazu bei, dass das Land immer wieder von gewalttätigen Auseinandersetzungen erschüttert wird. Oft werden soziale und wirtschaftliche Konflikte ethnisch oder religiös instrumentalisiert.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 2)

“Staatsform: Präsidiale Bundesrepublik mit 36 Bundesstaaten und einem Federal Capital Territory” (KAS, undated)[iii]

“There are 774 local government authorities (LGAs) and six area councils.” (CLGF, 2019, p. 161)[iv]

“Nigeria is a federal republic with a bicameral national assembly and 36 state assemblies.” (CLGF, 2019, p. 161)

“These [the 36 subnational legislatures in Nigeria] are called State Houses of Assembly.” (The Conversation, 14 January 2021)[v]

“Nigeria faces security challenges on several fronts. In the northeast, conflict between the military and two U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) – Boko Haram and an Islamic State-affiliated splinter faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) – has killed tens of thousands over the past decade, displaced millions, and caused a protracted humanitarian crisis. […] In Nigeria’s northwest, conflict between pastoralists and farmers recently has escalated amid a broader deterioration in security conditions involving cattle rustling, kidnapping, ethnic massacres, and emergent Islamist extremist activity. Farmer-herder violence also has surged in the central Middle Belt, where disputes over resource access coincide with ethno-religious cleavages between Christian and Muslim communities. In the south, criminality and militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta have impeded development and contributed to insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea for decades.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, Summary)

“Yet corruption, infrastructure gaps, insecurity, and a failure to diversify the economy away from petroleum production have constrained economic growth and development.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, Summary)

“1983 December - Maj-Gen Muhammad Buhari seizes power in bloodless coup.” (BBC, 18 February 2019)[vi]

“1999 - Parliamentary and presidential elections. Olusegun Obasanjo sworn in as president.

2000 - Adoption of Islamic Sharia law by several northern states in the face of opposition from Christians. Tension over the issue results in hundreds of deaths in clashes between Christians and Muslims.

2001 - Tribal war in Benue State, in eastern-central Nigeria, displaces thousands of people. Troops sent to quash the fighting kill more than 200 unarmed civilians, apparently in retaliation for the abduction and murder of 19 soldiers.” (BBC, 18 February 2019)

“2006 January onwards - Militants in the Niger Delta attack pipelines and other oil facilities and kidnap foreign oil workers. The rebels demand more control over the region's oil wealth.” (BBC, 18 February 2019)

“2010 May - President Umaru Yar'Adua dies after a long illness. Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, already acting in Yar'Adua's stead, succeeds him.

2011 March - Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan wins presidential elections.” (BBC, 18 February 2019)

“2015 March - Muhammadu Buhari wins the presidential election, becoming the first opposition candidate to do so in Nigeria's history.” (BBC, 18 February 2019)

“More than 15 million Nigerians chose Muhammadu Buhari as their president in 2019, close to the number that elected him in 2015, indicating that four years in office have not diminished his appeal.” (BBC, 27 February 2019)

“Die unabhängige nigerianische Wahlkommission INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) hat am Mittwoch, den 27. Februar 2019, den amtierenden Präsidenten Muhammadu Buhari zum offiziellen Wahlsieger erklärt. Mit etwa 15,2 Millionen Stimmen erhielt er fast 4 Millionen Stimmen mehr als Atiku Abubakar (11,3 Millionen Stimmen). Insgesamt waren 82,3 Millionen Menschen wahlberechtigt, 28,6 Millionen Stimmen wurden abgegeben, davon waren 27,3 Millionen gültig. Der Wahlsieger Buhari bekam 55,6%, Abubakar 41,2% der Stimmen.” (SWP, 21 April 2019, p. 1)[vii]

“Der 76-jährige Buhari führte Nigeria bereits von 1983 bis 1985 als Staatsoberhaupt – er hatte sich an die Macht geputscht. Nach drei erfolglosen Versuchen, auf demokratischem Weg noch einmal Präsident zu werden, gelang es ihm 2015, sich gegen Goodluck Jonathan durchzusetzen. In seinem damaligen Wahlkampf versprach er, die Sicherheit angesichts der Bedrohung durch Boko Haram wiederherzustellen, die Korruption zu bekämpfen und die am Boden liegende Wirtschaft anzukurbeln.” (SWP, 21 April 2019, p. 2) [viii]

“Nigeria hat seit seiner Unabhängigkeit (1960) das Stadium des unfertigen Staates noch immer nicht überwunden und verfügt auch unter demokratischen Vorzeichen der IV. Republik (seit 1999) nur in Ansätzen über eine funktionierende Staatlichkeit. So konnten von der postkolonialen Phase bis in die Gegenwart hinein widerstreitende ethnische und religiöse Identitäten und Narrative über Herkunft, Interessen und Machtansprüche gedeihen.

Die tiefste Kluft verläuft zwischen dem islamisch geprägten Norden und dem überwiegend christlich geprägten Süden des Landes. Die Geschichte Nigerias ist ein Prozess der zunehmenden Entfremdung zwischen Muslimen und Christen. Hintergrund sind der wachsende Fundamentalismus in beiden Religionen sowie erstarkende ethnische Polarisierungen und erbitterter Verteilungskämpfe um die Zuweisungen der Zentralregierung. In der Folge konnte der Middle Belt seine Rolle als Übergangs- und Pufferzone zwischen dem weniger entwickelten Norden und dem prosperierenden Süden nicht mehr wahrnehmen und geriet seinerseits immer mehr in den Sog der Destabilisierung.

Das öl- und gasreiche Nigerdelta schafft den größten Reichtum Nigerias, der von einer für afrikanische Maßstäbe zahlenmäßig vergleichsweise großen Elite vereinnahmt wird. Ethnisch definierte gewaltbereite und gut organisierte Gruppen fordern seit Beginn der Demokratisierung 1998/99 diese Elitenherrschaft immer wieder heraus. Dabei waren einige Milizen mit der Anwendung von Gewalt partiell erfolgreich und konnten zumindest einen Teil dieses Reichtums zu ihren Gunsten umverteilen.

Der blutige Sezessionskrieg um Biafra (1967–1970), dessen Ursachen und Folgen nie aufgearbeitet wurden, sodass sich keiner der Hauptakteure der Verantwortung stellen musste, markiert bislang den einzigen "Betriebsunfall" für die nigerianischen Eliten. Seitdem gilt die ungeschriebene Staatsdoktrin, wonach ein derartiges Ereignis sich nicht wiederholen darf. Dies soll ein Elitenkonsens garantieren, der darin besteht, die Pfründe so reibungslos wie möglich untereinander aufzuteilen und den Zusammenhalt des Zentralstaates nicht zu gefährden. Doch geriet dieser Konsens bereits mehrfach in Gefahr – so unter Militärdiktator Sani Abacha und Präsident Goodluck Jonathan. Angesichts der bislang mageren Bilanz von Präsident Buhari, die sich in der Handhabung der COVID-19 Pandemie bestätig[t], droht erneut die Aufkündigung des Konsenses mit unabsehbaren Folgen. ” (BPB, 6 July 2020)[ix]

“Maiduguri is where Boko Haram Islamist militants were first based when they began their insurgency six years ago.

Some 17,000 people are said to have been killed in that time and attacks by the group have intensified since Muhammadu Buhari became president in [2015], vowing to defeat the insurgents.” (BBC, 2 October 2015)

“Nigeria gilt als ein Vielvölkerstaat: Die rund 400 unterschiedlichen Volksgruppen verteilen sich auf die verschiedenen Regionen des Landes. Die drei größten Volksgruppen bilden hierbei die Haussa (im Norden), Igbo (im Südosten) und Yoruba (im Südwesten). Amtssprache ist Englisch. Etwa die Hälfte der Bevölkerung bekennt sich zum Islam, rund 45 Prozent sind Anhänger des Christentums. Während der Norden des Landes vorwiegend muslimisch geprägt ist, leben im Zentrum und im Süden größtenteils Christen.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 1)

“Vor 20 Jahren gab der erste Gouverneur im Norden Nigerias die Einführung der Scharia bekannt. Das Rechtssystem sollte dem sozialen Frieden dienen. Die Hoffnungen auf besser Lebensverhältnisse wurden enttäuscht. Konflikte zwischen Muslimen und Christen haben sich verschärft.” (Deutschlandfunk, 24 October 2019)[x]

“Since 2009, an Islamist insurgency based in northeastern Nigeria has killed tens of thousands of people and triggered a massive humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger […]. Founded in the early 2000s as a Salafist Sunni Muslim reform movement, Boko Haram, which roughly translates to ‘Western cultureis forbidden,’ has evolved into one of the world’s deadliest Islamist armed groups. Since 2016, an Islamic State (IS)-affiliated splinter faction, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (IS-WA, aka ISIS-WA or ISWAP) has surpassed Boko Haram in size and capacity, and now ranks among IS’s most active affiliates.” (CRS, 26 March 2021, p. 1)

“Zuletzt haben sich die Sicherheitslage und die humanitäre Situation im Nordosten des Landes verschlechtert. Die islamistische Terrorgruppe Boko Haram verübt in dieser Region immer wieder schwere Anschläge mit zahlreichen Todesopfern. Das Flüchtlingshilfswerk der Vereinten Nationen (UNHCR) beziffert die Zahl der nigerianischen Binnenvertriebenen aktuell auf mehr als zwei Millionen.” (GTAI, 4 December 2020, p. 2)

“Nigeria’s North East, especially Borno state, but also parts of Adamawa and Yobe states, are continually under siege by two jihadist factions, the Islamic State in West Africa Province and Jamaat Ahl al-Sunna li-Dawa wal-Jihad, collectively referred to as Boko Haram. In many other states across the North West and North Central zones, the presence of armed groups, whom authorities and the media loosely refer to as ‘bandits’, has left residents and travellers vulnerable to robbery and kidnapping for ransom, especially on roads, on farms and, more recently, in schools. Elsewhere, intra and inter-communal conflicts pose security risks.” (ICG, 4 May 2021, p. 17)[xi]

“Farmer-herder violence also has surged in the central Middle Belt, where disputes over resource access coincide with ethno-religious cleavages between Christian and Muslim communities.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, Summary)

“In the Middle Belt – a loosely defined region spanning Nigeria’s North Central geopolitical zone and adjacent parts of the North East and North West […] – violence between sedentary farmers and mobile livestock herders has surged in recent years.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, p. 8)

“Political unrest, criminality, and intermittent bouts of armed militancy linked to grievances over perceived exploitation and environmental degradation have afflicted the southern, oil-rich Niger Delta region for decades.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, p. 10)

“In 2009, in response to a wave of attacks on oil infrastructure that sharply reduced output, the government launched an amnesty and monthly stipend for militants. The program has curbed large attacks on oil facilities, but root causes of insecurity remain unaddressed and ex-militants routinely threaten to resume violence.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, p. 11)

“The Niger Delta also is the epicenter of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea: for several years, waters off Nigeria have ranked among the world’s most dangerous for attacks at sea. The region has become a hotspot for kidnappings targeting shipping personnel, as attackers exploit vast river networks to hide abducted crew while negotiating ransoms.” (CRS, 18 September 2020, p. 11)

“On 4 October 2020, a video went viral showing SARS officers dragging two men from a hotel and shooting one of them outside. A few days later, protests erupted across Nigeria. On 11 October, SARS is disbanded. But it was the 5th time since 2015 that the Nigerian authorities pledged to reform the police and disband SARS. Protests continued demanding more than empty promises.

On 20 October, the Nigerian army violently repressed a peaceful protest at the Lekki toll gate, shooting at the protesters and killing at least 12 people. Since that day, the Nigerian authorities have tried to cover up the events of the Lekki Toll Gate Shooting. They froze protests leaders' bank accounts and fined news agencies who diffused videos of the shooting.

But the ‘Soro Soke (‘Speak up’ in Yoruba) generation won't give up the fight for justice. They demand answers” (AI, undated)

2. Central Nigeria and Abuja

(States: Adamawa, Benue, Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba)

2.1. Background Information

“Although Nigeria chiefly is known for its oil and gas production, agriculture employs about 70 per cent of its labour force. Small-holders in the country’s centre and south harvest most of the country’s tuber and vegetable crops while pastoralists in the north raise most of its grains and livestock. […] Historically, relations between herders and sedentary farming communities have been harmonious. By and large, they lived in a peaceful, symbiotic relationship: herders’ cattle would fertilise the farmers’ land in exchange for grazing rights. But tensions have grown over the past decade, with increasingly violent flare-ups spreading throughout central and southern states; incidents have occurred in at least 22 of the country’s 36 states.” (ICG, 19 September 2017, p. 1)

“Amnesty International visited 56 communities in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, and Zamfara states affected by the clashes and conducted 262 interviews, including remotely with members of communities in Nasarawa and Plateau states. In all these communities, members of farmer communities said they had lived in peace with members of herder communities, who are Fulani. The Fulani herders also said the same thing about living in peace with the farmers. In some communities, farmers said problems started over the destruction of their crops due to the animals of the herders grazing on their farmlands, while in other communities, they could not explain the reasons for the attacks. In some cases, farmers received prior information or heard rumours that they would be attacked, but in other cases, the attacks were unexpected. The Fulani herders blamed farmers for trying to chase them out of their communities by rustling their cattle and attacking them.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 6)[xii]

“A Fulani chief in Adamawa State explained how trouble began between farmers and herder communities in the state: ‘We have been trying to manage the crisis by creating grazing areas because a number of the grazing routes have been occupied. Farmers farm on the cattle routes. There are international cattle routes that other Fulani [herders] from Mali and other countries frequently use and once they find the routes have been occupied [and used as farmlands], they go ahead and pass along the routes because to them, that is supposed to be their way.’ Amnesty International’s research revealed that one of the major causes of the clashes between herders and farmers is the scarcity of and competition for resources, mainly land, water and pasture.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 12)

“In the early 1970s, livestock production was distinctly separate from crop production, particularly in northern Nigeria, where the main links between the two were in the area of cattle grazing on crop residues after harvest and some farmers making use of draught oxen. During this time (as recent as the early 1970s), herders did not have established land rights because land was communally owned and in the hands of traditional rulers and family heads. The herder received permission (grazing permits) to graze their cattle in areas not under agricultural use.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 13)

“But over time, it has become difficult to separate the two means of livelihood [crop production and livestock production] because increasingly, the Fulani herders are taking to farming crops as a means of livelihood, while members of farming communities also now own cattle.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 14)

“This increase in farming and other large scale developmental activities such as schools, petrol stations, markets and power installations in the country, have resulted in growing encroachment on what used to be grazing routes or reserves, meaning access to land for grazing or passage is diminishing at the same time the region is seeing a growing cattle population.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 15)

“Amnesty International has documented 312 incidents of attacks and reprisal attacks in 22 states and Abuja between January 2016 and October 2018. As a result of these attacks Amnesty International estimates that at least 3,641 people may have been killed, 406 injured, 5,000 houses burnt down and 182,530 people displaced.” (AI, 17 December 2018, p. 16)

“Violent conflict between largely Muslim Fulani herders and ethnically diverse farmers in predominantly Christian areas has taken on tribal, religious and regional dimensions. Clashes across the central belt and spreading southward, are killing some 2,500 people a year. The conflict is now so deadly that many Nigerians fear it could become as dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency. Escalating internally, the conflict could also spread regionally: herders might seek to draw fighters from their kin in other West and Central African countries, as some Fulani leaders have warned. This in turn could undermine a fragile region already struggling to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents.” (ICG, 20 July 2017)

“Land disputes, competition over dwindling resources, ethnic differences, and settler-indigene tensions contributed to clashes between herdsmen and farmers throughout the north-central part of the country. Ethnocultural and religious affiliation also were factors attributed to some local conflicts. Nevertheless, many international organizations, including International Crisis Group, assessed that these divisions were incidental to the farmer-herder conflict. During the past year, the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in north-central states steadily slowed due to government policies and civil society conflict-resolution mechanisms. ‘Silent killings,’ in which individuals disappeared and later were found dead, occurred throughout the year. Conflicts concerning land rights continued among members of the Tiv, Kwalla, Jukun, Fulani, and Azara ethnic groups living near the convergence of Nasarawa, Benue, and Taraba States.” (USDOS, 11 March 2020, Section 6)[xiii]

“The rise of farmer-herder conflict in Africa is more pernicious than fatality figures alone, however, since it is often amplified by the emotionally potent issues of ethnicity, religion, culture, and land.[…]

[t]he stakes quickly shift from questions over resource access or local politics to deep-seated notions of identity. Entire communities are labeled bandits, insurgents, or terrorists.” (Brottem, 12 July 2021 p. 1)[xiv]

“Nigeria has experienced the highest number of farmer-herder fatalities in West or Central Africa over the past decade. This trend has been largely upward, with 2,000 deaths recorded in 2018. Violent events between pastoralist and farming communities in Nigeria have been concentrated in the northwestern, Middle Belt, and recently southern states.” (Brottem, 12 July 2021 p. 4)

“More than 1,531 people died and thousands were displaced in inter-communal violence mostly between herdsmen and farming communities, as well as in attacks by bandits, in the north-central and north-western regions. More than 1,015 people were taken hostage by unidentified gunmen; in December, over 300 students of Government Science Secondary School in Kankara in Katsina state were abducted from their hostels, although they were released a few days later. The violence forced many farming families to flee to urban areas or displacement camps.” (AI, 7 April 2021)

“Land disputes, competition over dwindling resources, ethnic differences, and settler-indigene tensions contributed to clashes between herdsmen and farmers throughout the north-central part of the country. […]

Conflicts concerning land rights continued among members of the Tiv, Kwalla, Jukun, Fulani, and Azara ethnic groups living near the convergence of Nasarawa, Benue, and Taraba States.” (USDOS, 30 March 2021, Section 6)

2.2. Current Situation

“CSW is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Obadiah Mailafia, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in a hospital in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on 19 September. Dr Mailafia died after reportedly being treated “shabbily” in successive hospitals, with doctors in the final hospital refusing to perform chest compressions that might have assisted him.

Dr Mailafia was among the first prominent Nigerians to raise the alarm about the current violence in southern Kaduna, the infiltration of extremists of Fulani ethnicity across the country, including in southern Nigeria, and their links with terrorist factions.

[…]

Dr Mailafia was interrogated three times by the Department of State Services (DSS) in the Plateau State capital, Jos, in a campaign described by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka as “ongoing ‘national security’ persecution.” On 11 September 2020, he released a message requesting prayer: ‘I have reasons to believe that my life is in danger and that some powerful political forces want to silence me forever for speaking the truth. For speaking on behalf of the Holy Martyrs - of thousands of innocent children, women, elderly, and youths that have been killed in our beloved country.’ He subsequently went into hiding but continued to speak out in webinars and conferences.” (CSW, 20 September 2021)[xv]

“Also on 19 September, one worshipper was killed and three were abducted from the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Ayedayo-Kabba in the Kabba Bunu Local Government Area (LGA) of Kogi State by five AK 47-wielding assailants, who attacked the morning service at around 8am. The sole casualty, who was killed while on his way to the church, was later identified as Mr Reuben Gbenga.” (CSW, 20 September 2021)

“Intercommunal and herder-farmer violence flared in north central zone, notably Plateau state. Attacks by suspected herder-aligned gunmen on ethnic Irigwe villages in Bassa area 31 July-1 Aug killed at least 17; suspected Irigwe militia 14 Aug killed at least 22 Fulani Muslims near state capital Jos; gunmen 22 Aug killed at least 44 people in Yelwa Zangam village, Plateau state, and Guma area, Benue state.” (ICG, August 2021)

“Around 36 people were killed on 24 August in an attack by armed assailants of Fulani origin on Yelwan Zangam, a community located near the University of Jos, which began at around 8 pm. Several victims were burnt to death in the house in which they had taken refuge.” (CSW, 27. August 2021)

“Gunmen in Nigeria have freed a number of pupils who were kidnapped from an Islamic school in May, according to their head teacher.

Some 136 students from the school in Tegina, Niger state, were seized by gunmen demanding a ransom.

The head teacher said a small number escaped in June. There were unconfirmed reports that six died in captivity.

[…]

On 30 May, gunmen riding on motorcycles stormed the town and opened fire, killing one person and injuring another.

As people fled, the attackers went to the school and seized the children.” (BBC, 27 August 2021)

“Meanwhile, gunmen 15 July killed army Major General Hassan Ahmed just outside Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. 18 July killed at least ten including two humanitarian workers in Guma area, Benue state” (ICG, July 2021)

3. Northeastern States (Boko Haram and IS-West Africa)

(States: Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Yobe,)

3.1. Background Information

“Boko Haram grew out of a group of radical Islamist youth who worshipped at the Al- Haji Muhammadu Ndimi Mosque in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, in the 1990s. Its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, began as a preacher and leader in the youth wing, Shababul Islam (Islamic Youth Vanguard), of Ahl-Sunnah, a Salafi group. […] Most accounts date the beginning of Boko Haram – its formal Arabic name is Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) – to 2002, when it began to attract official attention.” (ICG, 3 April 2014, p. 7)
“Initially referred to as the Yusufiyya or Nigerian Taliban and later as Boko Haram, it also rejected all secular authority.” (ICG, 3 April 2014, p. 9)

“In 2014 Boko Haram killed more than 4,000 people, although the true figure is almost certainly higher. In the first three months of 2015, Boko Haram fighters killed at least 1,500 civilians. The group bombed civilian targets across Nigeria, raided towns and villages in the north-east and from July 2014 began to capture major towns. By February 2015, it controlled the majority of Borno state, as well as northern Adamawa state and eastern Yobe state. In August 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, proclaimed this territory to be a caliphate. Tens of thousands of civilians were subjected to Boko Haram’s brutal rule.” (AI, 13 April 2015, p. 3)

Boko Haram wurde ungefähr 2002 vom salafistischen Prediger Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri, der Hauptstadt des nigerianischen Bundesstaats Borno, gegründet. Yusuf lehnte den nigerianischen Staat als "unislamisch" ab und plädierte für die Einführung der Scharia. Sein Vorgehen war zunächst gewaltlos und zielte darauf ab, die Bevölkerung für sich zu gewinnen. Aufgrund der hohen Armut und Arbeitslosigkeit im Norden Nigerias konnte die Gruppe zu Beginn einen hohen Zulauf junger Menschen verzeichnen. 2009 wurde Yusuf von nigerianischen Sicherheitskräften getötet. Anschließend lag die Führung bei Abubakar Shekau. Unter ihm begann Boko Haram damit, das nigerianische Militär, Polizeistationen und Zivilisten zu attackieren. Es gibt regelmäßig Terroranschläge auf Kirchen und öffentliche Plätze sowie staatliche Institutionen wie Universitäten und Schulen. Dabei werden auch Kinder als Selbstmordattentäter eingesetzt. Shekau soll laut der nigerianischen Armee 2016 während eines Luftangriffs getötet worden sein.” (Die Zeit, updated on 29 March 2018)[xvi]

“In March 2015, BH [Boko Haram] pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message. ISIS accepted the group’s pledge and the group began calling itself ISIS-West Africa. In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to replace Abubakar Shekau as the new leader of the group. Infighting then led the group to split. Shekau maintains a group of followers and affiliates concentrated primarily in the Sambisa Forest; this faction is known as Boko Haram. The Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria routinely call both groups Boko Haram, with some differentiation on the ‘Shekau faction’ versus the ‘al-Barnawi faction.’” (USDOS, 19 September 2018)

“’We are in an Islamic caliphate,’ said Mr Shekau, flanked by masked fighters and carrying a machine gun. ‘We have nothing to do with Nigeria. We don't believe in this name.’” (BBC, 24 November 2016)

“Boko Haram overtakes ISIL to become the most deadly terrorist group in the world. Deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 317 per cent in 2014 to 6,644.“ (IEP, November 2015, p. 4)[xvii].

“Counterinsurgency efforts are reported to have become more effective following the inauguration in May 2015 of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. By cutting off supply routes and targeting insurgent safe havens, the insurgents were driven from most of the territories they had previously occupied. Following their territorial losses, the insurgents reportedly changed their tactics towards asymmetric warfare, including the use of kidnapping, rape, forced recruitment of children and youth, suicide bombing, and sexual slavery. However, according to analysts a comprehensive military victory is unlikely, and the insurgents continue to pose a considerable security threat.“ (UNHCR, October 2016, p. 1-2) [xviii]

“Boko Haram and ISIS-WA attacked population centers and security personnel in Borno State. Boko Haram also conducted limited attacks in Adamawa, while ISIS-WA attacked targets in Yobe. These groups targeted anyone perceived as disagreeing with the groups’ political or religious beliefs or interfering with their access to resources. While Boko Haram no longer controls as much territory as it once did, the two insurgencies nevertheless maintained the ability to stage forces in rural areas and launch attacks against civilian and military targets across the Northeast. Both groups carried out infrequent attacks through roadside IEDs. ISIS-WA maintained the ability to carry out effective complex attacks on military positions.” (USDOS, 11 March 2020, Section 1g)

“Nigeria had the second largest fall in total deaths, owing largely to a 72 per cent reduction in fatalities attributed to Fulani extremists. Despite this decrease, the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 25 per cent from 2018 to 2019. Renewed activity by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, remains a substantial threat to the region.” (IEP, November 2020, p. 13)

“Boko Haram and ISIS-WA attacked population centers, security personnel, and international organization and NGO personnel and facilities in Borno State. […] While Boko Haram no longer controlled as much territory as it did in 2016, the two insurgencies nevertheless maintained the ability to stage forces in rural areas and launch attacks against civilian and military targets across the Northeast. […]

Arbitrary arrests reportedly continued in the Northeast, and authorities held many individuals in poor and life-threatening conditions. There were reports some of the arrested and detained included children believed to be associated with Boko Haram, some of whom may have been forcibly recruited.” (USDOS, 30 March 2021, Section 1g)

“Boko Haram continued to commit grave human rights abuses in the north-east, including killings and abductions of civilians, which amounted to war crimes and may have constituted crimes against humanity. More than 420 civilians died in around 45 attacks, many of them in Borno state, but also in Adamawa and Yobe. Meanwhile, Boko Haram continued to recruit child soldiers.” (AI, 7 April 2021)

“Boko Haram and its splinter faction ISWAP continued attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers in the northeast.” (HRW, 13 January 2021)[xix]

“The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) militant group said in an audio recording heard by Reuters on Sunday that Abubakar Shekau, leader of rival Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, was dead.

Shekau died around May 18 after detonating an explosive device when he was pursued by ISWAP fighters following a battle, a person purporting to be ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi said on the audio recording.” (Reuters, 7 June 2021)[xx]

“Two people familiar with al-Barnawi told Reuters the voice on the recording was that of the ISWAP leader.” (Reuters, 7 June 2021)

“In north east, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 6 June confirmed Boko Haram faction (JAS) leader Abubakar Shekau had killed himself in May, 26 June issued video of rival ISWAP and JAS fighters jointly pledging allegiance to Islamic State. ISWAP continued attacks in Borno state, notably on military base in Damboa area 15 June.” (ICG, June 2021)

“More than 1,000 Boko Haram fighters and their families have handed themselves over to army units in recent weeks in the southern Borno state towns of Konduga, Bama, and Mafa – including what the military has described as the group’s “chief bomb expert”. And hundreds more fighters have reportedly surrendered across the border in neighbouring Cameroon.

In staged ceremonies, troops have handed out food and clothes to groups of solemn men holding placards in English, some reading: ‘Nigerians please forgive us’; ‘peace is the only way’; and ‘surrender and live’.

The ‘massive surrendering’ is the result of a ‘recent escalation of offensive operations’, the military said in a triumphant statement earlier this week.

But analysts argue that the unprecedented scale of defections has more to do with the fallout over the death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.” (TNH, 12 August 2021)

3.2. Current Situation

“In Borno state (north east), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) killed at least six troops in three attacks 7-14 Aug; 30 Aug attacked Rann and Ajiri towns leaving at least 17 people dead.” (ICG, August 2021)

“MSF has been forced to close our medical activities in Gwoza and Pulka due to security developments in the area and threats to humanitarian workers.

In the past months, fighting in the area has led to changes among the non-state armed groups controlling the area, with the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) expanding its influence in the northeast and beyond. In addition, clear statements made by the group in August 2020 declaring NGOs as a legitimate target, have prompted humanitarian organisations to gradually reduce the presence of international staff outside Maiduguri. MSF has been the only NGO with a permanent presence of international staff in Pulka and Gwoza for the past five years” (MSF, 25 August 2021)[xxi]

“Maiduguri – Eines der 2014 von Boko Haram-Kämpfern entführten Mädchen aus der nigerianischen Stadt Chibok ist nach sieben Jahren befreit und mit ihren Eltern wiedervereint worden. Der Gouverneur des Bundesstaats Borno, Babagana Zulum, sagte am Samstag, das Mädchen und ein Mann, mit dem sie seit ihrer Gefangenschaft verheiratet ist, hätten sich vor zehn Tagen dem Militär gestellt. Es habe eine Weile gebraucht, die Eltern ausfindig zu machen.

[…]

Kämpfer der islamistischen Boko Haram hatten das Mädchen und mehr als 200 ihrer Klassenkameradinnen bei einem Überfall auf eine Schule im April 2014 entführt. Die Entführungen lösten einen internationalen Aufschrei und eine Kampagne in den sozialen Medien mit dem Hashtag #bringbackourgirls aus. Ursprünglich waren etwa 270 Mädchen von der islamistischen Gruppe entführt worden, 82 wurden jedoch 2017 nach Verhandlungen freigelassen, einige andere konnten entkommen oder wurden gerettet. 113 der Mädchen sollen weiterhin von der militanten Gruppe festgehalten werden.” (Der Standard, 8 August 2021)[xxii]

“North east saw lull in Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacks in Borno state as group reportedly reshuffled its leadership as directed by Islamic State (ISIS); ISWAP notably reinstated Abbah Gana as leader of so-called Islamic Caliphate of Africa straddling Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Suspected Boko Haram (BH) militants 7 July killed at least 18 civilians in neighbouring Adamawa state. Security forces 16-28 July reportedly killed 16 ISWAP or BH combatants, arrested 29, and rescued 40 civilians in north east.” (ICG, July 2021)

“Military 8 and 20 June repelled ISWAP attacks on Dikwa and Kumshe towns, killing at least six insurgents, 20 June killed over 20 others in Lambua forest. Herder-farmer-related violence flared in several states. Notably, gunmen 5-6 June killed at least 15 people in Igangan town in Oyo state, 6 June killed 27 in Agatu area of Benue state and 13 June killed 12 in Jos South area of Plateau state; residents and local authorities blamed attacks on herders.” (ICG, June 2021)

4. Northwestern States (kidnappping for ransom and violence of armed groups)

(States: Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara)

4.1. Background Information

“In Zamfara, as in the rest of the northwest, the term ‘bandit’ is shorthand for nomadic Fulani pastoralists. The elision not only stigmatises an entire community but skates over a complicated shared history with the politically dominant majority Hausa population.

Competition with Hausa farmers has sharpened over the past decade with both the intensification of agriculture and a drying climate. The expansion of farms across stock routes has meant access to both grazing and water have become issues of lethal contention.

Fulani herders are typically accused of ignoring boundaries, and their young men of being quick to violence. But the Fulani have also been victims of land-grabbing by the well-connected, and of extortion by local authorities when it comes to the levying of fines.

Organised Fulani raids began on Hausa villages from around 2014 in an escalation of what had been more localised conflicts. In self-defence, vigilante groups formed with the backing of the state government, but their revenge was often indiscriminate – turning towns into no-go areas and driving some Fulani communities into the forests.

Fulani militia responded with even greater ferocity – and better weaponry – calling on nomadic kin from across the region for assistance. Sweeping into Hausa villages on motorbikes, they typically killed all the men they could find, on the assumption they were all vigilantes.” (TNH, 19 January 2021)[xxiii]

“In the northwest, when village-based Yan Sai Kai vigilante were formed to combat bandits, they tended to target Fulani – whether involved in criminality or not. That set off a chain reaction of tit-for-tat violence that has forced more than 280,000 people from their homes and disrupted farming – raising concerns for this season’s harvest.” (TNH, 8 April 2021)

“What happened in Unguwar Haraha Gofe has been replicated in scores of villages in Southern Kaduna in recent years. At least 366 people were killed in communal violence in the first seven months of this year alone – deepening the bitterness that has complicated the many attempts to find peace.

This fertile agricultural zone is home to at least 30 ethnic groups – predominantly Christian farming communities. Collectively, they are a minority within Kaduna state, where political and economic power is held by the Hausa-Fulani majority, who are almost exclusively Muslim.

The flashpoint for conflict is typically a dispute between “indigenous” farmers and Fulani pastoralists, who range across West Africa with their herds. The expansion of settled farmland has blocked legally-demarcated stock routes, and when crops have been trampled and water points fouled – or cattle killed or stolen – trouble has quickly followed in a tit-for-tat spiral of ever-worsening violence that has displaced an estimated 50,000 people in recent years.” (TNH, 17 December 2020)

“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed at least 1,126 people in the north of the country since January, Amnesty International said today.

The organization interviewed civilians in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara states, who said they live in fear of attacks and abductions as insecurity escalates in rural areas. Many of those interviewed described how security forces often arrive hours after attacks have ended, even when officers have been given information about impending attacks. During one attack in Unguwan Magaji in Kaduna state, security forces arrived at the scene but left when they saw the sophisticated ammunition the attackers were using. By the time they returned, at least 17 people had been killed.

Amnesty International has documented an alarming escalation in attacks and abductions in several states in north west and north central Nigeria since January 2020. Worst affected are villages in the south of Kaduna State, where armed men killed at least 366 people in multiple attacks between January and July 2020.” (AI, 24 August 2020)

“Kidnapping for ransom has become a particularly lucrative and attractive business to many in the North West region, especially among the many unemployed youths. Many residents lament how easily the armed banditry groups storm their communities in broad daylight to either rustle cattle or kidnap people. The kidnappers no longer are interested in kidnapping ordinary villagers, however. Rather, they realize that attacking schools and inter-state transportation routes brings in more money. The region, for example, recorded at least six mass kidnappings of school children and university students in the past six months […]” (Jamestown Foundation, 2 July 2021)[xxiv]

“Intercommunal violence continued in many parts of the country. In April, armed bandits killed at least 47 people in a coordinated attack on several villages in Katsina State in the northwest. According to the UN refugee agency, at least 1,126 people died between January and June in the northwest region, 210,000 people were internally displaced and over 70,000 fled to seek refuge in Niger as at August due to the insecurity in the region.” (HRW, 13 January 2021)

“The northern Nigerian state of Kaduna has suspended all schooling due to insecurity, state officials said on Monday, amid a spate of student kidnappings in the region that has rocked Africa's most populous country.

[…]

The state had already imposed a three-week suspension on schooling that expired on Sunday, said another official who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.” (Reuters, 26 July 2021)

“The Kaduna State Schools Quality Assurance Authority has ordered the closures of 13 schools, most of which belong to Christian denominations or organisations, which it has identified as being “vulnerable,” following the abduction of staff and students from Bethel Baptist High School in the Chikun Local Government Area of southern Kaduna.” (CSW, 7 July 2021)

“For the last few years life in rural areas of north-western Zamfara state has been agonisingly brutish.

Gun-toting motorbike gangs have made the state of approximately 15,352 sq miles (39,761 sq km) - an area bigger than countries like Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda - a haven for wanton killing, rape and kidnapping for ransom.

[…]

[T]he Zamfara authorities have now banned the movement and sale of animals, along with the weekly markets where farmers and business people go to trade. Stealing animals is one of the gangs' main streams of income.

The more drastic measure has been switching off all of Zamfara's 240 mobile phone towers.

The aim is to deny the criminals the means of communication with their informants and of negotiating ransoms with the families of those abducted.” (BBC, 12 September 2021)

4.2. Current Situation

“Armed groups continued to launch attacks in north west. In Zamfara state, armed group 15 Aug stormed public college in Bakura town, killing three and kidnapping 19; armed group same day attacked Randa village in Maru area, killing 13 and abducting over 30. In Kaduna state, armed groups 3 Aug killed 25 in four villages in Kauru area, 22 Aug killed at least nine in Zangon Kataf area. In Sokoto state, armed group 14 Aug killed nine in three villages in Goronyo area. Military reported over 200 armed group members killed 2-15 Aug in air and ground operations in Niger and Zamfara states.” (ICG, August 2021)

“Armed group violence left dozens dead and scores kidnapped in north west, notably in Zamfara state: 49 killed in Maradun area 8 July; 20 farmers kidnapped in Bakura area 16 July; 150 villagers kidnapped in Shinkafi area 16-17 July; and at least 13 police killed in Bungudu area 18 July. Air force Alpha jet same day crashed after coming “under intense enemy fire” in Zamfara, leaving no casualties; unprecedented incident confirms armed groups acquiring anti-aircraft capabilities. In Katsina state, armed group 4-5 July killed at least 20 in three villages in Batsari area. In Kaduna state, gunmen 5 July abducted 121 students near state capital; armed groups 8-13 July killed 33 in Zangon Kataf area.” (ICG, July 2021)

“Bandits in Nigeria have shot down an air force plane in a rare case of a military jet being brought down by a criminal gang in the country.

The pilot had finished a raid against kidnappers when he came under intense fire, the Nigerian Air Force said.

Flight Lt Abayomi Dairo ejected and used "survival instincts" to avoid capture and find shelter, before rejoining his comrades.

The attack happened on the border of the northern Zamfara and Kaduna states.” (BBC, 19 July 2021)

“At least 26 students and a teacher have been rescued after armed men raided a private secondary school in Nigeria's northwestern Kaduna State early Monday and kidnapped scores of people, said police.

[…]

Officials from the school in Kaduna's Chikun district told Agence France-Presse news agency that no fewer than 140 students were captured and taken to an unknown destination by the attackers.

Kaduna police, however, have said that the definitive number of abducted students has yet to be ascertained.” (CNN, 6 July 2021)

“In north west, armed groups continued attacks and mass abductions, killing over 250 and displacing thousands. In Kebbi state, 88 killed in Danko-Wasagu area 3 June and 102 kidnapped in Birnin Yauri town 17 June. In Zamfara state, at least 137 killed and over 100 abducted in Zurmi and Maru areas 6-10 June.” (ICG, June 2021)

5. Southern Nigeria, Biafra and the Niger Delta (Piracy, criminality, militant groups, separatist movement, Police violence)

(States: Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River State, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ondo, Rivers)

5.1. Background Information

“The Niger Delta, in southern Nigeria, is a paradox, rich in resources but poor and racked by insecurity. A combination of local grievances over oil and gas pollution, infrastructure, poverty, unemployment, the region’s share of oil revenues and its marginalisation in national politics led to protests that evolved into a full-blown insurgency in 2006. That rebellion, waged by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), severely disrupted Nigeria’s oil industry, slashing earnings from its exports, the country’s major revenue source. A June 2009 presidential amnesty for the militants ended the insurgency, restored some stability and created an opportunity for the government to address the multiple grievances and demands at their roots. That opportunity was lost to political inertia and bad governance. Many issues that triggered the conflict remain largely unaddressed. The presidency of Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015), the first national leader from the region, stipends and training for the former militants and arrangements with insurgency leaders kept a lid on local agitation and conflict.” (ICG, 29 September 2015, p. 1)

“Incidences of petroleum pipeline vandalism in Nigeria have spiralled over the years. By way of example, such occurrences surged from 57 incidents in 1998 to over 2 500 incidents in 2008. This is rather ominous, considering the primacy of the petroleum sector vis-a-vis the sustenance of the Nigerian economy.” (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, 5 September 2019) [xxv]

“Since its advent in the 1970s, the petroleum sector has predominantly sustained the Nigerian economy. The sector has also been a centre for petro-rentier politics and corruption – more specifically crime and violence, including oil theft sabotage and pipeline vandalism. […] The characteristics of the Niger Delta social context have informed three patterns of petro-pipeline vandalism, represented in the “need-greed-grievance” schema. Need-based vandalism is driven by the imperative for subsistence and survival, while greed-based vandalism is associated with the quest for primitive accumulation of petro-wealth. Grievance-based vandalism, on the other hand, refers to pipeline vandalism as an avenue for the advancement of an environmental justice cause. What is common across all these patterns of petroleum pipeline vandalism is that each of them is driven by a socio-existential imperative.” (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, 5 September 2019)

“Other organized criminal forces in the southern and middle parts of the country committed abuses, such as kidnappings. The overall level of violence in the Niger Delta, which declined briefly after a 2009 general amnesty, rose during the year.” (USDOS, 25 June 2015, Executive Summary)

“While amnesty lasted, there was some reprieve as militants sheathed their swords. However, there has been recourse to arms in the region in recent times as new militant groups emerged in 2016 with various demands. While the new names that emerged this time differ from the past ones, there is no doubt that this was old wine in new bottles. The new militants are still insisting on resource control and bombing of oil installations, which is re-immersing the country in conflict once again.” (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, 12 September 2017)

“Militants in the Niger Delta have not launched any major attacks on oil installations since the federal government engaged the region’s ethnic and political leaders last November, pledging to revive infrastructure projects, clean up the polluted Ogoni environment and allow local communities to set up modular refineries. Yet the region’s situation remains fragile. Attacks against Igbos or other southerners in the north might lead some delta militants to target oil companies, either to pressure the federal and northern state governments to stop anti-Igbo violence, or to cover criminal activities.” (ICG, 20 July 2017)

“Criminal groups abducted civilians in the Niger Delta and the Southeast, often to collect ransom payments. Maritime kidnappings remained common as militants turned to piracy and related crimes to support themselves. On July 13, for example, Nigerian pirates boarded a cargo vessel off the coast of Bayelsa, kidnapping 10 Turkish sailors and taking them away by speedboat. The pirates, initially demanding three million dollars as a ransom payment, reportedly released the sailors in August after weeks of negotiations.” (USDOS, 11 March 2020, Section 1b)

“Kidnappings by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea hit a record in 2020, with well-armed and violent gangs defying regional navies and marauding further out to sea, a report from the International Maritime Bureau said on Wednesday. Pirates in the West African region kidnapped 130 seafarers in 22 separate incidents, accounting for all but five of those seized worldwide last year. The previous record, in 2019, was 121.” (Reuters, 13 January 2021)

“Maritime kidnappings remained common as militants turned to piracy and related crimes to support themselves. For example, in July, Nigerian pirates attacked a Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel near Rivers State, kidnapping 11 crew members.” (USDOS, 30 March 2021, Section 1b)

“In October, security forces used excessive force to disperse peaceful protests and assemblies, including the #EndSARS demonstrations, resulting in the deaths of 56 protesters, bystanders and members of the security forces.” (AI, 7 April 2021)

“The Nigerian army has rejected claims it killed unarmed protesters at a rally in Lagos in October, saying its soldiers were firing blank bullets.

Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo presented video evidence to back up his claims made to a panel of inquiry.

Amnesty International says 12 people were killed when soldiers opened fire on a protest about police brutality in the wealthy Lagos suburb of Lekki.

Multiple eyewitnesses have told the BBC they saw soldiers shoot people.

Some 1,000 protesters had gathered at the Lekki toll gate on 20 October to prevent cars using a major motorway. Soldiers were reportedly seen barricading the protest site moments before the shooting started.

In video footage shared on social media at the time, shots could be heard as protesters sat down, locked arms and sang the national anthem together. Live footage was also streamed from the scene showing protesters tending to the wounded.

The attack had followed days of protests against the much-hated police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which had morphed into greater calls for better governance.” (BBC, 15 November 2020)

“Federal govt 4 June ordered Internet providers to block access to social media platform Twitter; move came after Twitter suspended President Buhari’s account and removed post in which he vowed to “treat [Biafra secessionist groups] in the language they understand”. Numerous human rights groups protested shutdown as attempt to stifle free speech.” (ICG, June 2021)

5.2. Current Situation

“Heavily armed gunmen raided a jail in south-central Nigeria late on Sunday, blowing up the perimeter fence and freeing 266 inmates - almost everyone in the prison, authorities said.

A soldier and a police officer were killed in the attack and two guards were missing, the interior ministry said. It was the second major jailbreak in Nigeria this year.” (Reuters, 13 September 2021)

“A total of 114 of the 266 inmates who escaped from a Nigerian prison on Sunday have been recaptured, the prison service said on Tuesday.” (Reuters, 14 September 2021)

“In south east, violence pitting security forces against suspected members of outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) rose again. In Imo state, gunmen 5 and 13 Aug attacked police stations in Orlu and Izombe towns, killing at least three officers; 16 Aug ambushed convoy transporting petroleum industry workers, killing seven; police blamed separatists, but IPOB denied involvement.” (ICG, August 2021)

“Violence between govt forces and separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed wing Eastern Security Network ebbed in south east; at least ten policemen however killed in five states throughout month. In south west, state security forces 1 July raided home of ethnic Yoruba separatist agitator, Sunday Igboho, killed two aides and arrested 13, and declared him “wanted”; Igboho arrested in Benin 19 July.” (ICG, July 2021)

“In south east, amid govt crackdown on outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing Eastern Security Network (ESN), govt 6 June reported killing IPOB/ESN’s “Number 1 killer-squad commander”, Dragon; 26 June reported destroying three ESN camps in Imo state. Attorney general late June said IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested abroad 27 June and brought back to Nigeria to face trial. In Niger Delta, armed group Niger Delta Avengers, dormant since 2017, 26 June announced it would resume attacks on petroleum installations.” (ICG, June 2021)

“Amnesty International documented at least 115 persons killed by security forces between March and June 2021. Many relatives of the victims told Amnesty International that they were not part of the militants that were attacking security agents. Many of the victims were deposited at government hospitals in Imo and Abia state. According to several hospital sources all the victims deposited by the police had bullet injuries.” (AI, 5 August 2021)

6. Further Information on the security situation in Nigeria

Please see the following link to access the database of Nigeriawatch[xxvi]:

For further information on security incidents please also see:

For maps on security incidents in Nigeria please also see:

7. Sources

(all links accessed on 27 September 2021)


[i] The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is a German state owned organisation that specializes in international development.

[ii] Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany.

[iii] The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a political foundation, closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU).

[iv] The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) is an international network bringing together all levels of government, with more than 200 members in 47 Commonwealth countries, including: local government associations; councils; and ministries with responsibility for local government; together with associate members – universities and professional organisations.

[v] The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public

[vi] The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the public service broadcaster of the United Kingdom.

[vii] The Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin is a civil-law foundation and the founding institution behind the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

[viii] The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress.

[ix] The Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BPB) [Federal Agency for Civic Education] is a federal public authority providing citizenship education and information on political issues for all people in Germany.

[x] Deutschlandfunk is part of the German radio station Deutschlandradio and has its headquarters in Cologne.

[xi] The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organisation that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict

[xii] Amnesty International (AI) is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights.

[xiii] The US Department of State (USDOS) is the ministry of foreign affairs of the United States.

[xiv] Leif Brottem is Associate Professor of Global Development Studies at Grinnell College. He researches pastoralism and rural livelihoods in West and Central Africa.

[xv] Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian advocacy organisation with the aim of promoting religious freedom worldwide, seeking to influence governments on religious freedom issues.

[xvi] Die Zeit is a German weekly newspaper

[xvii] The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

[xviii] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the UN Refugee Agency.

[xix] Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international human rights organisation.

[xx] Thomson Reuters (Reuters) is an international news agency.

[xxi] Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF) is an international Organisation for medical aid.

[xxii] Der Standard is an Austrian newspaper.

[xxiii] The New Humanitarian (TNH) (formerly IRIN News) is an independent non-profit news organisation. It was founded by the United Nations in 1995, in the wake of the Rwandan genocide.

[xxiv] The Jamestown Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides information on terrorism, the former Soviet republics, Chechnya, China, and North Korea.

[xxv] The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes is a South Africa-based civil society organisation working throughout Africa and operating in the field of conflict prevention.

[xxvi] Nigeriawatch is a project of the University of Ibadan with the support of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria)

[xxvii] Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) is a consortium of the two NGOs Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children based in Geneva.

[xxviii] The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a private US think tank specialising on foreign policy.

[xxix] Partners for Peace (P4P) is a program of the Fund for Peace (FfP) promoting a peaceful Nigerdelta.

This featured topic was prepared after researching solely on ecoi.net and within time constraints. It is meant to offer an overview on an issue and is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status, asylum or other form of international protection. Chronologies are not intended to be exhaustive. Every quotation is referred to with a hyperlink to the respective document.