Multiple Nodes, Common Causes: National Stocktake of Contemporary Insecurity and State Responses in Nigeria
The Nigerian body politic faces a seeming epidemic of insecurity spanning jihadist insurgency, criminal banditry, farmer-herder conflicts, and violent separatist agitations. While governmental responses have overwhelming followed a militarised path to resolving these multifaceted conflicts, such interventions do not appear to have substantially diminished insecurity. There instead appears to be a growing miscomprehension among policymakers and the wider public of the critical factors triggering and sustaining varied conflicts. The increasing prevalence of misinformation and disinformation across traditional and new media spheres has further deepened public anxiety and intergroup tensions about the mounting insecurity and state responses to it. Considering this context, there is a pressing need for strategic knowledge-driven interventions that can both improve public awareness of the drivers of insecurity and directly inform evidence-driven policymaking. Whilst understanding the local specificity of conflicts remains critical for serious conflict resolution, a more holistic and national approach to generating evidence about Nigeria's conflicts is necessary. This report aims to address this gap by providing an updated analysis of the multiple nodes of insecurity and attendant state responses in Nigeria. While not able to consider the entire country in-depth, the report highlights the contested issues and responses common across Nigeria which have the most pronounced bearing on national cohesion. To realise this aim, the study pursued a primarily qualitative approach to data gathering. It focused on grasping the linkages, and common and divergent drivers of ongoing conflicts across Nigeria's six geopolitical zones, by undertaking interviews, holding focus group discussions, and conducting site visits in at least two states in each geopolitical zone.