Nigerians commend government counter-insurgency strategy but express fear and concerns over the implication of extreme violence Afrobarometer survey shows. They believe, the extremist groups are getting support in different ways. Some they pointed out are the government, military, and extremist organizations abroad. The citizens believe, the most effective counter-insurgency approach is to strengthen the economy as well as military response.
Nigerians are also worried about the herder-farmer conflicts. Some think that the government approach to addressing the conflicts are effective.
The prevalence of conflicts which pose a huge internal security threat to the Nigerian state is glaring. For instance, Mercy Corps “Economic Costs of Conflict in Nigeria report” report shows that over 20,000 people were killed and 2.6 million displaced by conflicts. In 2016 alone, about 3,000 deaths were recorded as a result of herder-farmer conflicts. That cost the Nigerian state at least $14 billion in potential revenues annually arising from the loss of crops and livestock as a consequence of the conflicts.
Afrobarometer conducted face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples. Its national partners in Nigeria, CLEEN Foundation and Practical Sampling International, interviewed a national representative, random, and a stratified probability sample of 1,600 adult Nigerians between 26 April and 10 May 2017. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin error of +/-2% at a 95% confidence level. Similar surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2014.
Worried about violence
1. One in 10 Nigerians (11%) say they have personally experienced extremist violence during the past two years, in addition to 25% who say they have feared such violence. The fear and experience of extremist violence are most common in the North East and North Central zones.
2. Larger proportions say they have experienced or feared violence by people in the neighbourhood/village or at political events.
3. Seven in 10 Nigerians say they are “very concerned” (48%) or “somewhat concerned” (23%) about the violent conflicts between farmers and herders.
1. International extremist groups are most widely blamed for supporting violent extremist groups in the country. But most Nigerians believe that domestic terror groups are receiving support from a wide range of influential sources, including “some” senior government leaders, members of the National Assembly, members of the military, local government officials, and traditional leaders.
2. Nigerians believe the main reasons why people join extremist groups are as a result of poverty and unemployment.
3. Three-four Nigerians say the government has been “somewhat effective” while (39%) say it has been “very effective” in addressing the problem of armed extremists in the country.
4. Large majorities “agree” or “strongly agree” that the army keeps the country safe from insurgents (83%), gets necessary training to defend and protect the country (82%), and operates in a professional manner (77%).
5. Some say the best ways for the government to effectively address the problem of armed extremists are to improve the economy, create jobs and to strengthen the military response.
Slightly above half (53%) of Nigerians say the government is performing “fairly well” or “very well” in preventing or resolving violent community conflict, while almost as many (46%) rate the government’s efforts as “fairly bad” or “very bad.”
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa.
By Audu Liberty Oseni
Senior communications and campaign Officer, CLEEN Foundation.