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AD29: Security and armed extremism in Nigeria: Setting a new agenda

’Kemi Okenyodo, Nengak Daniel and Peter M. Lewis 14 May 2015 Nigeria
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Key findings
  • Almost four in 10 Nigerians (39%) do not feel safe in their neighborhoods. One-third (33%) say they feared crime in their homes.
  • More than half of Nigerians say the government has been largely unresponsive and ineffective in fighting the menace of armed extremists.
  • One-third or more of Nigerians believe that “most” or “all” senior officials in the federal government, members of the Nigerian military, members of the National Assembly, Nigerian Muslims, and international extremist groups are involved in supporting and assisting extremist groups in Nigeria.
  • Poverty and unemployment are seen as the main reasons people join extremist groups.

Widespread violence and crime made for a tense build-up to Nigeria’s recent elections, with large swaths of the country effectively under the control of terrorists and frequent headlines reporting armed robberies and kidnappings.

Change has been rapid and remarkable: Within the span of a few months, virtually all territories (and hundreds of captives) have been liberated from extremist groups, and in March and April 2015, elections conducted with minimal disruption turned the incumbent party out of office after 16 years.

Still, security is a top priority for the new government assuming power on May 29, and citizens’ experiences and perceptions with regard to public safety and extremist activities in their country may be valuable in setting the new agenda.

This analysis is based on Afrobarometer survey data collected in December 2014, reflecting views before the recent successes in fighting armed extremism, but informed by long experience of the country’s security challenges.

Click ‘Download now’ for the full document; for the media briefing, click here.

’Kemi Okenyodo

’Kemi Okenyodo is executive director of the CLEEN Foundation in Abuja, Nigeria. <br />

Daniel Nengak

Nengak Daniel is program manager for the CLEEN Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria.<br />

Peter Lewis

Peter is a board member