ecoi.net's featured topics offer an overview on selected issues. The featured topic for Nigeria covers the main current security incidents in the northern, southern, and central parts of Nigeria. The information was found in selected sources and does not purport to be exhaustive.

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1. Background Information

“Nigeria ist die größte Volkswirtschaft Afrikas und mit 175 Millionen Einwohnern das bevölkerungsreichste Land des Kontinents. Mit einer jungen, motivierten und wachsenden Bevölkerung, umfangreichen natürlichen Ressourcen, und einer zunehmenden Diversifikation der Wirtschaft ist Nigeria nicht nur eine Regionalmacht, sondern eine an Bedeutung gewinnende Gestaltungsmacht auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent und in der Welt. Das Land steht allerdings vor großen Herausforderungen: Die beachtlichen Erträge aus der Erdölförderung hatten bisher kaum armutsreduzierende Wirkung. Immer noch leben mehr als zwei Drittel der Bevölkerung in extremer Armut und es herrscht hohe Arbeitslosigkeit. Die Förderung nachhaltiger wirtschaftlicher und sozialer Entwicklung wird erschwert durch Korruption sowie die regionalen, ethnischen, religiösen und sozialen Unterschiede und die damit einhergehenden Konflikte, die teilweise in Anschläge und Ausschreitungen münden.” (GIZ, undated)[i]

“Nigeria ist in 36 Bundesstaaten mit 774 ‚Local Government Areas (LGAs)‘ als kommunale Verwaltungseinheiten und dem Bundesterritorium Abuja - ‚Federal Capital Territory (FCT)‘ - gegliedert. Jeder der 36 Bundesstaaten verfügt über eine Regierung unter der Leitung eines Gouverneurs (State Governor) und über ein Landesparlament (State House of Assembly).“ (GIZ, December 2015)

“Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In 2010 then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, of the governing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), assumed the presidency following the death of President Yar’Adua. In 2011 President Jonathan was elected as president to a four-year term, along with Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, also of the PDP.” (USDOS, 25 June 2015, Executive Summary)[ii]

“Muhammadu Buhari became president in May [2015]” (BBC, 2 October 2015)[iii]

“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. […] Dass sich die Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftslage in Nigeria mit der Wiederwahl Buharis grundlegend ändern wird, ist nicht zu erwarten. Buhari ist prinzipiell mit den gleichen Ankündigungen in die Wahl gegangen wie vor vier Jahren. Die Bilanz der ersten Amtszeit ist nicht sonderlich erfolgreich, Impulse für eine Trendwende sind nicht zu erkennen. Es sieht eher nach reinem Machterhalt aus.” (SWP, April 2019, pp. 1-3)[iv]

“From the outside, conflict dynamics can be bewildering in their complexity, particularly in a country as vast as Nigeria with telescoping fault-lines and polarities. After gaining independence from the United Kingdom in October 1960, the country fell into a civil war that killed over a million people before it finally ended in 1970. Military rule gave way to the Fourth Republic with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. Since then conflict in Nigeria has included an insurgency in the Niger Delta which deescalated in 2009 as a result of an amnesty program for militants, periodic outbreaks of killing in the Middle Belt, and rising levels of violence in the Northeast. In April of 2011, hundreds were killed in post-election violence across the North. Violence ranges from the criminal, to intra-communal, inter-communal, ethnic, sectarian, political, and regional.” (FfP, 21 April 2014)[v]

“Political life has been scarred by conflict along ethnic, geographic, and religious lines, and corruption and misrule have undermined the state’s authority and legitimacy. Despite extensive petroleum resources, its human development indicators are among the world’s lowest, and a majority of the population faces extreme poverty.” (CRS, 1 February 2019, Summary)[vi]

“Ethnic and religious strife have been common in Nigeria. Tens of thousands of Nigerians have been killed in sectarian and intercommunal clashes in the past two decades. Ethnic, regional, and sectarian divisions often stem from issues related to access to land, jobs, and socioeconomic development, and are sometimes fueled by politicians. […] The violent Islamist group Boko Haram has contributed to a major deterioration of security conditions in the northeast since 2009. […] In the southern Niger Delta region, local grievances related to oil production in the area have fueled conflict and criminality for decades. Intermittent government negotiations with local militants and an ongoing amnesty program have quieted the region, but attacks on oil installations surged briefly in 2016 and remain a threat to stability and oil production. […] Protests in the Igbo-dominated southeast over perceived marginalization by the government have led to clashes with security forces; […] In the Middle Belt, violent competition for resources between nomadic herders, largely Muslim, and settled farming communities, many of them Christian, has been on the rise in recent years and is spreading into Nigeria’s southern states.” (CRS, 1 February 2019, pp. 1-2)

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)[vii]

“Plateau state falls on the dividing line between Nigeria's mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north and has witnessed sporadic ethnic and religious tensions for decades. The largely agrarian Christian communities in the state maintain the Muslim Fulani herdsmen are engaged in a prolonged battle to gobble up land from the areas of so-called indigenous people. Fulani leaders counter their people face discrimination as ‘foreigners’ in Plateau and are deprived of basic rights, including access to land, education and political office, despite having lived in the area for generations. Tensions frequently boil over, with more than 10,000 people killed in the state since the turn of the century, according to groups tracking the violence.” (AFP, 17 September 2015)[viii]

“Sectarian violence continues to be a particular problem in and around the central Nigerian city of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, which sits between the predominately Muslim north and Christian south. Tensions among communities in this culturally diverse “Middle Belt” are both religious and ethnic, and they stem from competition over resources - land, education, government jobs - between ethnic groups classified as settlers or as ‘indigenes’ (original inhabitants of the state), with the latter designation conveying certain political and economic benefits. In Jos, the mostly Christian Berom are considered indigenes, and the predominately Muslim Hausa-Fulani, who were traditionally nomadic and pastoralist, are viewed as the settlers.” (CRS, 15 November 2013, p. 12)

“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)

Incidents on conflict between herders and farmers are also covered in the chapter on Northern Nigeria.

2.2. Current Situation

“Last week, on April 14th, 16 people were killed at a naming ceremony in the Akwanga area of Nasarawa amid tensions between farmers and pastoralists in the area. A few days later, on April 17th, Fulani pastoralist militias killed 15 people and left three wounded in late night attacks on communities in the Numa area of Adamawa state. And on April 19th, unknown gunmen killed 11 people coming back from Church in Katsila-Ala of Benue state, while 40 others went missing.”(ACLED, 23 April 2019, p. 2)[ix]

“On the evening of 18 March 2019, fighters of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram attacked the city of Michika (headquarters of the local government area of the same name, state of Adamawa) and tried to rob a bank located there. They are said to have set the bank and some houses on fire. After extended clashes with the army, the attackers were driven away.“ (BAMF, 25 March 2019, p. 6)[x]

“Decades old communal conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt intensified in 2018 and further exacerbated the security situation in the country. At least 1,600 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced as a result of the violence.” (HRW, 17 January 2019) [xi]

”In June, a typical reprisal attack began after farmers allegedly killed five herdsmen for allegedly trespassing on farms in Plateau state. In apparent retaliation, herdsmen attacked villages in the area, killing 86 and injuring hundreds, including women and children. In September, suspected herdsmen killed 51 people and abducted about 24 others in Numan, Adamawa State.” (HRW, 17 January 2019)

“Violence between Nigerian herders and farmers has escalated, killing more than 1,300 people since January 2018. The conflict has evolved from spontaneous reactions to provocations and now to deadlier planned attacks, particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states.” (ICG, 26 July 2018, Principal Findings)

“On 23 June, a large and coordinated attack led by a Fulani herdsman militia against farmers belonging to the Berom ethnic group resulted in approximately 200 fatalities in Barkin Ladi LGA Plateau state. The following day the government deployed troops in the area (300 soldiers, and seven helicopter gunships), as well as in the neighbouring states of Benue and Taraba which have also experienced herdsmen-farmer clashes since the beginning of the 2018. Clashes continued in Plateau state the following days, affecting Barkin Ladi LGA and neighbouring Mangu, Riyom, Jos North and Jos South LGAs.” (ACAPS, 10 July 2018, p.2)[xii]

“In Nigeria, multiple clashes between farmers and herders in the Middle Belt states, as well as in the southern states of Edo, Ebonyi and Kogi, resulted in numerous casualties, population displacement and destruction of property.” (UN Security Council, 29 June 2018, p. 4) [xiii]

“More than 20 people have died in clashes between herders and farmers in central Nigeria, police said, part of an outbreak of violence that has piled pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari less than a year before elections. Two herders went missing in the central state of Benue on Monday and one was later found dead, a state police spokesman said. In revenge, a group armed with machetes attacked people, including women and children, in the district of Okpokwu the same day, the spokesman said. Twenty-four people died in that violence, he added.” (Thomson Reuters, 7 March 2018)[xiv]

„The Nigerian army on Wednesday said it will deploy troops to improve security in central states where a spate of communal violence has prompted criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari. Clashes between semi-nomadic herdsmen and farmers over fertile land have killed dozens of people in the last few weeks. A mass burial was held for 73 people killed in the violence was held in January.“ (Thomson Reuters, 7 February 2018)

“Seit dem 31.12.17 wurden im Rahmen des Bauern-Hirten-Konflikts in mehreren Bundesstaaten rund hundert Menschen getötet. Die meisten von ihnen, 73 Bauern und Dorfbewohner, starben im Bundesstaat Benue. Sie waren in abgelegenen Dörfern in den Local Government Areas Guma und Logo von Fulani-Hirten getötet worden. Die Toten wurden am 11.01.18 in einem Massengrab in der Hauptstadt Makurdi beerdigt. In Reaktion auf die Vorfälle verlegte das Miltär Sondereinheiten in die Bundesstaaten Benue, Taraba und Nasarawa. In Benue war am 01.11.17 ein neues Gesetz in Kraft getreten, das Viehhirten verbietet, als Nomaden durch den Bundesstaat zu ziehen. Bei dem Konflikt zwischen den halbnomadischen Fulani-Hirten und den sesshaften Ackerbauern handelt es sich um einen Streit um Land- und Weiderechte. Aufgrund des starken Bevölkerungswachstums wurden in den letzten Jahrzehnten die Weiderouten der Hirten zunehmend zugebaut. Auch die vermehrte Wüstenbildung in Nordnigeria veranlasste die Hirten, neues Weideland in südlicheren Gebie-ten zu suchen.” (BAMF, 15 January 2018)

3. Northern Nigeria and Boko Haram

(States: Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara)

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)

“[…] the group is more popularly known as Boko Haram (often translated as ‘Western education is forbidden’), a nickname given by local Hausa-speaking communities to describe the group’s view that Western education and culture have been corrupting influences that are haram (‘forbidden’) under its conservative interpretation of Islam.“ (CRS, 29 July 2014, p. 1)

“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)[xv]

“Later, Mr Shekau formally pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), turning his back on al-Qaeda. IS accepted the pledge, naming the territory under Boko Haram's control as the Islamic State of West Africa Province and as being part of the global caliphate it was trying to establish.” (BBC, 4 May 2015)

“Als Reaktion auf den Treueschwur Boko Harams zum ‚Islamischen Staat‘ starten Nigerias Nachbarländer Tschad und Niger am 8. März eine Militäroffensive auf nigerianischem Boden. […] Grob datiert werden kann die Entstehung der Gruppe auf das Jahr 2002. Sie hat sich in Maiduguri im Norden Nigerias formiert. Ihr Vorgehen war zunächst friedlich. Experten sehen die anfängliche Attraktivität von Boko Haram vor allem in den politischen und sozialen Verhältnissen im Norden Nigerias begründet: Die Gesellschaft ist ethnisch und religiös zersplittert, Armut und Arbeitslosigkeit höher als in anderen Landesteilen. Der Staat kommt seinen Aufgaben nur bedingt nach, die Lokalregierungen sind oft korrupt. Während die Gruppe in den ersten Jahren gewaltlos agierte, radikalisierte sie sich etwa ab 2009 und bekämpft seither aktiv den nigerianischen Staat. […] Der Chef von Boko Haram ist seit 2010 Abubakar Shekau. Er soll in der Stadt Maiduguri aufgewachsen und dort während seines Studiums der islamischen Theologie mit seinem Vorgänger Mohammed Yusuf in Kontakt gekommen sein.” (Die Zeit, updated on 18 November 2015)[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)

“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. 1f) [xviii]

3.2. Current Situation

“And in Nigeria, violence flared up again in various states: in Katsina state, unknown gunmen attacked villages and fought with local vigilante militias over April 7-9th, leaving at least 47 people reported killed; in Zamfara state, the Nigerian airforce launched new airstrikes against positions of ‘bandits’ including herders in the forests, leaving dozens killed” (ACLED, 16 April 2019, p. 2)

“On 30 March 2019, armed men attacked the villages of Kursasa, Kurya and Gidan Achali in the Shinkafi Local Government Area (northwestern Zamfara State). Villagers say that more than 40 people, mostly farmers, were killed in the event. Police says that only 10 persons were killed on a farm in Kursasa village.” (BAMF, 1 April 2019, p. 4)

“On the morning of 23 February 2019, shortly before polling stations opened, Maiduguri (capital of the state of Borno) was shaken by several explosions and gunfire. According to security reports, Boko Haram insurgents attacked the city with grenades. However, the attackers were pushed back by soldiers. According to official army reports, the noise heard was caused by military exercises. On 23 February 2019, the ISWA group (Islamic State in West Africa), split off from the terrorist organisation Boko Haram, declared that it had attacked the airport, an army base and a government building in Maiduguri. […] 18 February 2019, suspected insurgents belonging to the terrorist organisation Boko Haram attacked a group of firewood and charcoal merchants near Koshebe (Jere Local Government Area, Borno State) who were in the bush. At least 18 of them were killed.” (BAMF, 25 February 2019, p. 5)

“Officials in north-west Nigeria have reported the discovery of the bodies of 66 people, 22 of them children and 12 women, killed by ‘criminal elements’. The victims were found in eight villages in the Kujuru area of Kaduna state, the state government said.” (BBC, 15 February 2019)

“According to official sources from 15 February 2019, 66 bodies were discovered in eight villages of the Kajuru Local Government Area of the Kaduna state. According to Maisamari Dio, leader of the predominant Christian Adara ethnic group in the Kujuru region, Muslim Fulani attacked an Adara village and killed several people on 10 February 2019. The Adara had then made retaliatory attacks on Fulani. […] On 12 February 2019, fighters of the ISWA group (Islamic State in West Africa), a branch of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram, attacked the car convoy of the Governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima. He was 6 travelling from Maiduguri on Dikwa-Ngala Street to an election campaign in Gamboru-Ngala (headquarters of the Ngala Local Government Area). According to Shettima’s spokesperson, three people were killed in the convoy during the attack. Some press reports say up to ten persons were killed and several were kidnapped. According to ISWA, who claimed responsibility for the attack on 13 February 2019, 42 persons were killed.“ (BAMF, 18 February 2019, pp. 5-6)

“On the morning of 28 January 2019, Boko Haram insurgents captured the village of Rann without a fight (Borno State, administrative headquarters of the Kala Balge Local Government Area), located about seven kilometres from the Cameroonian border in the Lake Chad region. According to Amnesty International, they killed at least 60 residents and burned down hundreds of buildings as an analysis of satellite images indicates. The Nigerian army had left the city the day before the terrorist attack, after the Cameroonian units of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), also stationed in the city to protect the population, had been withdrawn shortly before. Boko Haram had already occupied the town of Rann which also houses a camp of tens of thousands of internally displaced people, for 24 hours on 14 January 2019 after fighting with the army. According to UN figures, a total of 35,000 civilians fled across the border to Cameroon in the wake of the two attacks by the Boko Haram on Rann.” (BAMF, 4 February 2019, p. 4)

“Nachdem es zwischen Januar und Juli 2018 insgesamt 3 Terroranschläge im Nord-osten Nigerias gegeben hat, zu denen sich der IS bekannt hat, stieg deren Anzahl danach weiter an: Allein im August waren es 3, im September 4, im Oktober schon 6 Angriffe. Die Lage eskalierte: 10 Anschläge im November, 19 im Dezember 2018.” (SWP, April 2019, pp. 3-4)

“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. […] While Boko Haram no longer controls as much territory as it once did, the two insurgencies nevertheless maintain the ability to stage forces in rural areas and launch attacks against civilian and military targets across the Northeast. Both groups carried out attacks through large numbers of roadside improved explosive devices. ISIS-WA maintained the ability to carry out effective complex attacks on military positions.” (USDOS, 13 March 2019, Section 1g)

“New satellite images analyzed by Amnesty International show the horrific aftermath of a Boko Haram attack that devastated in Rann, north-east Nigeria, displacing more than 9,000 people earlier this week. The satellite images reveal the true extent of the devastating attack which took place on 14 January in the Borno State town, which hosted thousands of civilians internally displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram. According to Amnesty International’s analysis, the attack resulted in large areas being burnt in the west and south of Rann, with more than 100 structures destroyed or heavily damaged by fire.” (AI, 18 January 2019)

“Abductions, suicide bombings, and attacks on civilian targets by Boko Haram persisted. At least 1,200 people died and nearly 200,000 were displaced in the northeast in 2018. In June, at least 84 people were killed in double suicide bomb attacks attributed to Boko Haram at a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State.” (HRW, 17 January 2019)

“Recurring violence between herdsmen and farmers, as well as related cattle theft and banditry in many northern states, including Zamafara and Kaduna, posed serious threats to peace and security. Although the violence is increasingly described in religious terms, competing claims to land and other resources are at its core. […] Uncoordinated and inadequate responses by state and federal authorities deepened mistrust and perception of authorities’ bias and complicity in the violence. In May, at least 45 people were killed in an attack by bandits in Gwaska village, Kaduna State. Zamfara state was perhaps the worst affected by frequent bandit attacks, who killed at least 400 people and displaced over 38,000 in 2018. In July, the government deployed 1,000 military troops to the state to tackle insecurity.” (HRW, 17 January 2019)

“This report documents the violent clashes between members of farmer communities and members of herder communities in parts of Nigeria, particularly in the northern parts of the country, over access to resources: water, land and pasture. […] 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. […] Many attacks lasted for hours, in some cases days, even in communities where security forces were not far away. The response of security forces in some of the instances in Adamawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Benue, Plateau, and Zamfara states were so slow and poor that villagers accused them of complicity in the attacks. In some cases, especially in Adamawa and Taraba states, security forces knew attacks were about to happen and saw the attackers but refused to act. […] 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. The attacks primarily targeted men, although women and children also fell victim People’s property and means of livelihood were affected too.” (AI, 17 December 2018, pp. 6-16)

4. Southern Nigeria, Biafra and the Niger Delta

(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)

“Conflict in the Niger Delta has been marked by the vandalism of oil infrastructures; massive, systemic production theft locally known as ‘oil bunkering,’ often abetted by state officials; protests over widespread environmental damage caused by oil operations; kidnapping for ransom; and public insecurity and communal violence. The demands of the region’s various militant groups have varied, but often include calls for greater autonomy for the region and a larger share of oil revenues. Militant groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have used the kidnapping of oil workers and attacks on oil facilities to bring international attention to the Delta’s plight. […] Successive Nigerian governments have pledged to engage the Delta’s disaffected communities, but few of their efforts met with success until 2009, when President Yar’Adua extended an offer of amnesty to Delta militants.” (CRS, 18 July 2012, p. 13).

“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)[xix]

“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)

4.2. Current Situation

“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 March 26, for example, Nigerian pirates boarded a fishing vessel off the coast of Ghana, kidnapping three Korean sailors and taking them by speedboat back to the Niger Delta. The pirates reportedly released the sailors after the Ghanaian parent company paid a ransom.” (USDOS, 13 March 2019, Section 1b)

“On 17 August 2018 female members of the outlawed pro-Biafra group IPOB protested in Owerri city (capital of the south-eastern state of Imo) for the release of their leader Nnamdi Kanu who is probably held by the Nigerian authorities and for a referendum on the independence of the Biafra area. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstration. On 20 August 2018 112 of the 114 women arrested at the protest were brought before an Owerri magistrate's court. They were charged with membership in the banned IPOB organisation which can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years under the terrorism law. Another charge was conspiracy to commit crimes. As the court was not competent for some of these offences the trial was deferred until 03 September 2018 to allow further consultations with the Imo attorney general.” (BAMF, 27 August 2018, p. 4)

“Pirates have kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss cargo vessel in Nigerian waters. Massoel Shipping said its vessel, MV Glarus, was carrying wheat from Lniagos to Port Harcourt when it was attacked on Saturday. ‘The pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck,’ the firm told AFP. The intruders struck 45 nautical miles from Bonny Island in the Niger Delta, taking 12 of the 19 crew hostage.” (BBC, 23 September 2018)

“In Nigeria, multiple clashes between farmers and herders in the Middle Belt states, as well as in the southern states of Edo, Ebonyi and Kogi, resulted in numerous casualties, population displacement and destruction of property. […] While incidents of violence decreased in the Niger Delta and south-east regions, militant groups threatened to resume attacks.” (UN Security Council, 29 June 2018, p. 4)

„Laut Polizeiangaben wurden am 27.02.18 elf mutmaßliche IPOB-Mitglieder (Indigenous People of Biafra) im Zentrum von Enugu (Hauptstadt des gleichnamigen südöstlichen Bundestaates) verhaftet. Diese hatten vorher eine Veranstaltung der Eastern Consultative Assembly im Universal Hotel unterbrochen, da der IPOB-Anführer Nnamdi Kanu bei der Ehrung verdienter Igbo-Führer nicht berücksichtigt worden war. Die Pro-Biafra-Organisation (IPOB) ist seit September 2017 als Terrororganisation in Nigeria verboten.” (BAMF, 5 March 2018)

„At least 16 people have been killed by gunmen in southern Nigeria after a New Year's Day church service, police say. The group had attended a midnight service before they were ambushed in the early hours of Monday, police told the BBC. The incident, which happened in the oil-rich region of Rivers state, has been linked to growing tensions between rival gangs, local reports say. The gunmen are said to have fired at random, killing some at close range.“ (BBC, 2 January 2018)

5. Further Information on the security situation in Nigeria

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

For further maps on security incidents in Nigeria please also see:

6. Sources:

(all links accessed at 10 May 2019)


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

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

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

[iv] 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.

[v] The Fund for Peace (FfP) is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security.

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

[vii] 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

[viii] Agence France-Presse (AFP) is an international news agency headquartered in Paris.

[ix] The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) is a conflict collection, analysis and crisis mapping project.

[x] BAMF is the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

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

[xii] Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) is a non-profit, non-governmental project based in Geneva providing humanitarian analysis.

[xiii] The UN Security Council is an organ of the United Nations, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

[xiv] Thomson Reuters is an international news agency based in London.

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

[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] 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.

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

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

[xxii] 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.

Cite as:

ACCORD – Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: ecoi.net featured topic on Nigeria: Security Situation, 10 May 2019
https://www.ecoi.net/en/countries/nigeria/featured-topics/security-situation/

Source
ACCORD – Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation
Published
10 May 2019

 

1. Background Information
2. Central Nigeria and Abuja
2.1. Background Information
2.2. Current Situation
3. Northern Nigeria and Boko Haram
3.1. Background Information
3.2. Current Situation
4. Southern Nigeria, Biafra and the Niger Delta
4.1. Background Information
4.2. Current Situation
5. Further Information on the security situation in Nigeria
6. Sources