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  • Author: Oluwakemi Okenyodo
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: As in much of Africa, the vast majority of security threats facing Nigeria are internal, often involving irregular forces such as insurgents, criminal gangs, and violent religious extremists. Effectively combating such threats requires cooperation from local communities—cooperation limited by low levels of trust in security forces who often have reputations for corruption, heavy-handedness, and politicization. Tackling modern security threats, then, is directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police. Key paths forward include clarifying the structure of command and oversight, strengthening merit-based hiring and promotion processes, and better regulating private and voluntary security providers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: Kate Meagher
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Addressing the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria requires policymakers to look beyond Western security templates of Islamic terrorism to grasp the underlying causes of what is primarily a Nigerian conflict. This policy brief examines the four explanatory factors behind the insurgency: economic marginalisation, governance failures, extremist operations and security failures. Economic causes are traced to poverty, unemployment and extreme inequality between northern and southern Nigeria, while governance failures relate to national religious polarisation, political brinksmanship among religious elites, and rampant corruption in the face of mass poverty. The focus on extremist operations considers the shifting objectives and recruitment strategies of Boko Haram, which tend to confound clear policy analysis, while an assessment of security failures notes their role in driving rather than reining in radicalisation. Recommendations for international policy interventions focus on four areas of constructive engagement. These include diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian government to demonstrate adequate political will to address the insurgency, supporting human rights training and providing appropriate equipment for the military, providing more socially differentiated support for the generation of dignified livelihoods appropriate to both the educated and uneducated unemployed, and more concerted support for the compensation of Boko Haram's victims.
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Boko Haram is a radical Islamist movement shaped by its Nigerian context and reflecting Nigeria's history of poor governance and extreme poverty in the north. The movement is unique in that it combines a sectarian, radical Islamic agenda with violence. Its stated goal is the establishment of a sharia state, but it shows little interest in actually governing or implementing economic development. It is based on the fundamentalist Wahhabi theological system and opposes the Islam of the traditional northern Nigerian establishment, which is broadly tolerant. Boko Haram and its more radical splinter, Ansaru, are steadily expanding their area of operations. Kidnapping has become a major source of revenue and is widespread, while attacks have occurred in Lagos and Kano. The government's response has been to treat Boko Haram as a part of the international al-Qaeda movement. Security service abuses are likely a driver of some popular support for or acquiescence to Boko Haram. The struggle between the government and Boko Haram has dire humanitarian consequences. Many people have been internally displaced in northern Nigeria and many refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. The international community may be asked to help provide humanitarian assistance in what is one of the poorest parts of the world.
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: Cristina Barrios
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following a spectacular decline in the Gulf of Aden, incidents of armed robbery at sea and piracy (which legally refer to attacks beyond territorial waters) are now on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea. In 2012, the International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 58 attacks, including 10 hijackings. Nigeria is the most affected country, with 27 attacks in 2012 (almost three times more than in 2011), and 11 already reported for the first quarter of 2013. Most of the attacks target vessels connected to the oil industry, but they also disrupt trade and transport in the region as a whole, thereby posing a security threat to the international community as well as African states.
  • Topic: Crime, Maritime Commerce, Law Enforcement, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Guinea
  • Author: Michael Olufemi Sodipo
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Northern Nigeria has been the locus of an upsurge in youth radicalization and virulent militant Islamist groups in Nigeria since 2009. Nigeria's ranking on the Global Terrorism Index rose from 16 th out of 158 countries in 2008 to 6 th (tied with Somalia) by the end of 2011. There were 168 officially recorded terrorist attacks in 2011 alone. Bombings across the northeast prompted President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2013 to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States. Many Nigerians have come to question whether the country is on the brink of a civil war.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Economics, Islam, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Yobe State, Borno State, Adamawa State
  • Author: Gerald Hainzl
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: On 11 January 2013, France initiated an intervention in Mali in order to stop rebel and Islamist fighters marching towards the capital Bamako. Exactly one month later, on 11 February, French President François Hollande claimed victory against Islamist insurgents. On 18 February, a group of seven tourists was kidnapped in Cameroon, near the Nigerian border, by Ansaru, a militant group loosely affiliated to the Nigerian group Boko Haram. One day later, a French soldier was killed in a clash with Islamist fighters in the mountainous region in Northern Mali. France originally planned to leave Mali in March 2013, but has since extended its commitment.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: France, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Northern Mali
  • Author: Michael Olufemi Sodipo
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Ongoing attacks by Boko Haram and other violent Islamist groups coupled with an at times arbitrary response by Nigeria’s security forces have contributed to a deteriorating security situation in the north. Increasingly frequent attacks and bombings also mask longer-running radicalization dynamics. A sustained approach targeting every stage of the radicalization spectrum, from addressing socioeconomic grievances, to cross-cultural peacebuilding initiatives, to rehabilitating radicalized members of violent Islamist groups, as well as a more measured use of force are needed to reverse this broader trend.
  • Topic: Radicalization, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has grown increasingly virulent since late 2010, reflecting a major transformation in its capacity, tactics, and ideology. There are indications of expanding links between Boko Haram and international Islamist terrorist organizations. Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria's marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Augustus Vogel
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The African maritime security challenge is defined by the need to monitor wide geographic expanses with limited resources. Science and technology are invaluable maritime security force multipliers. Investment in “technology” without support for “science” is unsustainable. Complementary investments in African research institutions are needed to create collaborative “anchors” to sustain the effectiveness of maritime security efforts.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Maritime Commerce, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Caribbean, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The April 2011 general elections – if credible and peaceful – would reverse the degeneration of the franchise since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, yield more representative and legitimate institutions and restore faith in a democratic trajectory. Anything similar to the 2007 sham, however, could deepen the vulnerability of West Africa's largest country to conflict, further alienate citizens from the political elite and reinforce violent groups' narratives of bad governance and exclusion. Flawed polls, especially if politicians stoke ethnic or religious divides, may ignite already straining fault lines, as losers protest results. Despite encouraging electoral preparations, serious obstacles remain. Many politicians still seem determined to use violence, bribery or rigging to win the spoils of office. In the remaining weeks, national institutions, led by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), should redouble efforts to secure the poll's integrity, tackle impunity for electoral crimes, increase transparency and bolster safeguards, including by publicising results polling station by polling station and rejecting bogus returns.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria