Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is notorious for conducting gruesome extra-judicial killings, extortion and engaging in sexual abuse amongst other vices. Almost every Nigerian will have a story to tell of being harassed by SARS. If you are poor, you are termed a criminal; rich, you are a yahoo boy, the local slang for Internet fraudster.
In a time when processes of opening and regional integration elsewhere seem to give way to the tightening of barriers and protectionist tendencies, on March 21th the African countries signed a historical agreement to launch AfCFTA, the world's largest free-trade area in terms of the number of Contracting Parties. Is this a real breakthrough for the country's development?
Defined by multiple dynamics of instability, the Lake Chad Basin represents a complex regional system. Over the last ten years, violent extremism has spread across the region as a result of Salafi-jihadi armed groups – Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (JAS), commonly known as Boko Haram, and Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) – which gave impulse to regional security cooperation processes.
The Fulani are a large and internally diverse population spread across West and Central Africa, with their largest concentration in Nigeria. In very broad terms, they can be divided into two main categories: the (semi)-nomadic and transhumant pastoralists, who raise cattle and sheep and, contrary to popular belief, usually also cultivate crops on a subsistence basis; and settled Fulani, who are not pastoralists and live in urban areas and villages as traders, farmers, traditional rulers, educated professionals.
The Lake Chad region is caught in a conflict trap. Climate change and conflict dynamics create a feedback loop where climate impacts feed additional pressures while conflict undermines communities’ coping capacity. Whilst the region around the lake, bordering Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, is a priority for stabilisation efforts for many international and regional military actors, to date these efforts have failed to de-escalate the violence. Indeed, in some cases, military responses are making the situation worse.
2017 and 2018 had confirmed the pre-eminence of Boko Haram’s splinter faction known as the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), which broke away from Boko Haram’s historic leader Abubakar Shekau around mid-2016.
The Lake Chad Basin shows a complex regional system defined by multiple instabilities. Non-state Salafi-jihadi actors – namely Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) – confront state institutions and compete for power over local communities, fuelling regional political and economic insecurity. Furthermore, an increasingly harsh climate is having a serious impact on livelihood activities, feeding into social tensions – such as farmers-herders conflicts over access to natural resources – and prompting a severe humanitarian crisis.
The recent United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 marked the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era. As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 17 goals have been released; they replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Agenda that has come to an end after 15 years. Where the focus of the MDGs was on eradicating poverty, the SDGs shed light on the need for an inclusive, long-term, and sustainable development process.
The approaching of elections compels whoever is concerned to pounder Nigerian politics and so happened to the Author of this short commentary.
The forthcoming elections in Nigeria will be special in at least two ways from the preceding ones. First, they are the first elections since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999 that will be contested by two similarly matched political parties: the People’s Democratic Party of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressives Congress of his main contender, the Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari.