Preventing Violent Conflicts in Nigeria

01 Aug 2017

Challenges and Opportunities for Enhanced National Ownership

Over the years, the Government of Nigeria, with the support of partners and stakeholders, has invested enormous resources in the prevention and management of violent conflicts in the country. Yet the causes and manifestation of destructive conflicts have persisted as Nigeria continues to witness violent conflicts, particularly relating to the following: the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East (already weakened but not completely defeated); the deadly farmers nomadic pastoralists conflicts  predominantly in the North Central parts (but also nationwide); piracy, oil bunkering and pipeline vandalization by militants in the Delta; and, kidnapping for ransom in the southern parts of the country.

The country is passing through a major humanitarian crisis that has resulted in more than 5 million displaced by the insurgency in the North-East since 2009.

There is growing realization that something must be done differently to effectively address Nigeria’s current threats to peace and security, in the context of UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres’ push for prevention. How can the UN leverage its influence and strategically support Nigeria in addressing current threats to peace and stability, considering the country’s specificities?

This paper looks at the prevailing situation in Nigeria and argues that current challenges, if tactfully handled, can be transformed into opportunities to enhance existing capacities and mechanisms for peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflicts.

The UNSG’s emphasis on a proactive approach to conflict prevention and sustaining peace is particularly relevant to a country like Nigeria. In addition, the current discussion on how to enhance roles of UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) to actualize this renewed vision is timely and Nigeria may provide a good test of the drive towards a paradigm shift. This Issue Brief serves as a contribution to that discussion.

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