Jennifer Obado-Joel

The Challenge of State-Backed Internal Security in Nigeria: Considerations for Amotekun

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Nigeria faces immense internal security challenges, including the Boko-Haram crisis in the northeast and violent farmer-herder conflicts in the southwest and north-central states. Across the Nigerian federation, pockets of violent clashes have sprung and escalated in new locales in the last decade. Community responses to these violent crises have been diverse and included the establishment of armed groups to supplement or act in parallel to the security efforts of the Nigerian state—in some cases with backing from federal or state governments. These local security assemblages, community-based armed groups (CBAGs), are on the one hand contributors to local order, and normative conceptions of peace and security. On the other hand, these groups are often a pernicious actor within the broader security landscape, undermining intercommunal peace and drivers of violence and human rights abuses.

This Policy Note focuses on the characteristics, challenges, and opportunities of Amotekun, a recently formed CBAG in Southwest Nigeria. Drawing from the experiences of similar Nigerian groups, the Note details recommendations that may facilitate greater success and lessen poten al risk associated with Amotekun’s formation. These recommendations are aimed primarily at Nigerian government and civil society actors and describe areas where external support could potentially improve local capacity to conduct oversight of Amotekun and similar groups.


Suggested citation:

Obado-Joel, Jennifer. The Challenge of State-Backed Internal Security in Nigeria: Considerations for Amotekun. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2020.