Bulwark Intelligence




Since the privatization of power distribution in 2014 in Nigeria, there has been a growing trend of transformer vandalism in parts of the country. These acts, which have implications for communities and the economy, are often driven by the need to retrieve valuable materials such as copper cables, which are melted for jewellery, as well as transformer oil, bolts, and nuts. This leads to power outages, disruption of activities, endangered lives, and, in some cases, loss of life in communities. INSIGHTS This problem is not limited to specific areas but is experienced across all geopolitical zones, disregarding security trends associated with certain regions. Ikeja Electric Plc reported that over 24 transformers were vandalized between 25 April and 9 May 2019 in Igando, located in Alimosho Local Government Area, Lagos State. Similarly, between February and March 2018, the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) stated that 100 electricity transformers were vandalized, while in October 2023, JEDC also emphasized that an average of 50 transformers were vandalized daily in its coverage area. In Edo State, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) reported that 39 transformers were vandalized between January and May 2019 while in Enugu, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) stated that over 20 transformers were vandalized across the company’s franchise network within the southeast between 11 June and 2 July 2022. In Rivers State, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) reported that 11 transformers were vandalized in different locations in the Eket Local Government Area of the state between July and December 2023. The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) reported that between March and January 2017, over 250 transformer substations valued at over N800 million were vandalized across its franchise areas. Recently, IBEDC recorded over 45 vandalism cases in 2024. In certain situations, vandals sometimes succeed in their attempts, and in other instances, they are apprehended after committing their crimes. In April 2024, six suspects were apprehended for allegedly vandalizing transformers and power substations in Damaturu, Yobe State. CAUSE AND EFFECT The repercussions of transformer vandalism are multifaceted, precipitating power outages that ripple through communities, disrupting essential services and economic activities alike. This disruption, combined with the inherent risks of electrocution and fire, emphasizes the critical need for preventive measures and strong enforcement. On 4 September 2023, an individual was electrocuted while purportedly trying to damage a transformer in the Amawbia community in the Awka South Local Council of Anambra State Economic incentives, fueled by the lucrative market for copper cables and other valuable materials, incentivize theft, amplifying the socio-economic toll. These criminal acts not only undermine productivity and revenue but also disrupt activities in affected communities. Compounding the issue, transformers often stand vulnerable in remote or inadequately guarded locations, rendering them susceptible to exploitation. This vulnerability highlights systemic shortcomings in security measures, necessitating comprehensive strategies to fortify infrastructure resilience. Moreover, lax enforcement of laws and inconsistent penalties exacerbate the problem, creating an environment of impunity. Strengthening legal frameworks and implementing stringent penalties are imperative steps toward deterring such illicit activities and safeguarding vital infrastructure. IMPACTS The vandalism of transformers presents significant societal challenges ranging from social implications, developmental degradation, educational setbacks, increased crime rates and healthcare service disruptions. These activities put a strain on community relations and compromise the quality of life resulting from truncated livelihoods dependent on power. Additionally, the prolonged power outage severely hampers the economic growth and development of the affected communities. Hospitals and clinics reliant on electricity for operations may face difficulties in providing adequate care. Additionally, educational facilities, including schools affected by power outages, may struggle to maintain consistent learning environments. It is also worth noting that recurrent blackouts create opportunities for fraud, theft, and exploitation while prolonged power outages lead to increased premeditated crime rates and limit the visibility of security operations. CONCLUSION It is imperative to recognize that transformer vandalism poses profound risks beyond mere power outages, extending to life-threatening consequences. Therefore, addressing this issue requires multi-faceted approaches such as increased security measures, community inclusion and collaborative enforcement. The installation of security cameras, fencing, and enhanced guard patrols at substations can serve as deterrence mechanisms to curb this worrying trend. The implementation of smart grid systems with tamper-proof features can also enhance security. It is also important to educate the public about the consequences of these acts and the significance of protecting critical infrastructure. Residents must be involved in reporting suspicious activities through community-driven initiatives. Utility companies and government agencies must also collaborate to investigate and prosecute offenders and enforce stricter penalties to disincentivize against potential offenders. Image Source: The Guardian



In 2024 so far, Nigeria has experienced a series of severe fire breakouts throughout all regions, causing substantial damage to property, loss of lives, displacement, disruption of businesses, and economic setbacks. These incidents have emphasized the critical need for more effective fire prevention techniques, emergency response mechanisms, and public awareness campaigns. URBANIZATION AND UNREGULATED INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY Rapid urbanization has resulted in overcrowded residential neighbourhoods and markets, increasing the risk of fire outbreaks due to the proximity of flammable materials and limited access to firefighting equipment. An incident highlighting this cause occurred in Kano State at Yan Katako Market in Fagge Local Government Area on February 26, 2024. At least 50 stores were destroyed, and investigations revealed that foam, plywood, and other carpentry tools may have fueled the fire. Additionally, unregulated industrial activities as a result of poor enforcement of safety laws in industries also lead to hazardous activities that can cause chemical fires and explosions. These incidents mostly occur at illegal oil exploration sites. ELECTRICAL FAULTS Electrical faults resulting from outdated electrical wiring, circuit overload, and inadequate maintenance of electrical appliances also contribute significantly to fire outbreaks in both residential and commercial structures. A fire incident suspected to have been caused by an electrical fault occurred on January 15, 2024, in Tudun Wada Local Government Area, Kano State, resulting in 7 fatalities. It is critical to emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and safety checks on building electrical systems. POOR FIRE SAFETY MEASURES Poor fire safety measures have also been a cause, as many structures lack basic fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and emergency exits, thereby worsening the severity of fires. In Lagos State, a fire outbreak at a popular 10-storey Mandilas building on Broad Street, Lagos Island Local Government Area, occurred on January 21, 2024. Due to the absence of basic firefighting equipment, the fire that began on the first floor escalated to the fourth before the arrival of the fire service. The incident displaced 6,700 traders and razed 450 shops, 30 offices, 2 hotels, and 5 restaurants. HIGH TEMPERATURES Nigeria’s current hot weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires, which can spread swiftly and cause significant damage. On January 26 and 27, in the Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, wildfires erupted at secondary schools due to their proximity to bushes. MITIGATION STRATEGIES These incidents underscore the urgent need for comprehensive fire prevention strategies and improved emergency response mechanisms across the country. While efforts are underway to address some of the underlying issues, such as updating building codes and investing in firefighting infrastructure, more concerted action is required to tackle this growing crisis effectively. Addressing the underlying causes of fire outbreaks in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach involving government agencies, corporate sector entities, and civil society organizations. Key interventions include the investment in Infrastructure by prioritizing the upgrade of electricity grids, firefighting equipment, and emergency response systems to increase preparation and resilience, public awareness campaigns to inform individuals about fire safety measures, such as correct use of electrical equipment, safe cooking methods, and evacuation protocols, empowering local communities to prevent fires and respond efficiently in emergencies through training programs and community-based initiatives, regulatory enforcement measures to ensure compliance with building codes, fire safety standards, and industrial rules and encouraging research and development activities to explore innovative technologies and tactics for fire detection, prevention, and suppression.   Image Source: Premium Times



The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West Africa’s regional bloc, announced on 25th February 2024 during a summit in Abuja, Nigeria that sanctions against Mali and Guinea would be lifted. According to ECOWAS Commission Chief Omar Alieu Touray, sanctions such as the no-fly zone, border closures, and asset freezes would be suspended “with immediate effect” on “humanitarian grounds”. This comes a day after travel, commercial and economic sanctions imposed on Niger by the regional bloc were lifted however, some targeted sanctions on some key figures remained in place. The ECOWAS leaders had met to address and resolve the political crisis in the region as well as the announcement in January by the military leaders in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali to withdraw from the regional bloc. The move has been considered a sign of appeasement as ECOWAS attempts to persuade the three junta governments not to leave the regional bloc. ECOWAS also “further urges the countries to reconsider the decision in view of the benefits that the ECOWAS member states and their citizens enjoy in the community”. Former Nigerian Head of State and founder of ECOWAS, General Yakubu Gowon Rtd had earlier called on the removal of the sanctions on the four countries and warned ECOWAS was “threatened with disunity”. Economic Sanctions and Implications In response to the military coups in the region, ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) introduced rigorous sanctions on all three countries—and Burkina Faso. ECOWAS had earlier imposed sanctions on Mali to pressure the junta to return to constitutional order, although they were lifted in 2022 after a 24-month transition to democracy and a new electoral law was proposed. Regarding Niger, ECOWAS closed its borders and put stringent conditions after soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum on 26th July 2023 and installed a transitional administration. The sanctions, affected open movement and trade within the region, and restricted economic and social access. The sanctions forced Niger, to cut down government spending and default on debt payments of more than $500 million. Neighbouring Nigeria also cut off power which accounted for 70% of Niger’s total electricity supply in August 2023. The bloc also banned financial transactions with its member institutions in Guinea after Colonel Mamady Doumbouya ousted President Alpha Conde in 2021. Despite this, Guinea defied border closures imposed by ECOWAS and gave the Sahel states access to its port, enabling Mali to receive grain and fertiliser from Russia. The economic sanctions had broader implications for other countries in the region. According to reports, sanctions on Niger resulted in price hikes of a range of key goods in countries like Ghana. President Tinubu, President of Nigeria and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government acknowledged the unintended implications of the sanctions and emphasised the need “must re-examine our current approach to the quest for constitutional order in four of our Member States”. Alliance des États du Sahel (Alliance of Sahel States) and ECOWAS exit In September last year, military leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger formed the Alliance des États du Sahel (AES), in response to the threats of an ECOWAS military intervention in Niger after the military junta detained President Mohamed Bazoum. The resulting economic sanctions from both ECOWAS and WAEMU and tensions between juntas and ECOWAS exacerbated the geopolitical scenario, causing the AES to declare its immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS on 28th January 2024. The group also indicated that the sanctions were harming their people and also accused the bloc of being influenced by foreign governments. On the other hand, the exit of the AES from ECOWAS is projected to largely affect all ECOWAS projects and programmes worth more than $500m and $321.6m being executed by the region’s financial institutions. Additionally, the coup trend and fallout with ECOWAS increases the risk of political disorder and democracy and the spread of terrorism to the coastal states. There are also concerns that future juntas in the region would join the AES to evade ECOWAS demands to restore democracy fueling public resentment against the ECOWAS. Conclusion It is undeniable that the lifting of sanctions is a positive step in the right direction to promote dialogue between the juntas and the regional bloc. It is worth noting that the establishment of AES proved to be an effective bargaining tool in easing the sanctions on the military-led administrations and reducing pressure from ECOWAS to return to democratic rule. But the question remains, will the latest developments deter the AES from exiting from the ECOWAS regional bloc?



Senegal’s political stability is truly remarkable, considering that it has maintained its independence for 64 years without experiencing a military coup. Of the 54 states in Africa, only Botswana, South Africa, Cape Verde, Malawi, Namibia, Eritrea, and Mauritius have reached this feat. The current president, Macky Sall, announced on February 3, 2024, that elections will be postponed from February 25 to December 15, to ensure an inclusive, transparent, and fair election. Throughout the country’s history, the first and only election postponement occurred in 1966. National Assembly The postponement announcement caused a stir because it was issued a day before the candidate campaigns started, which added to the suspicions of election tampering amidst the ongoing investigation of the Constitutional Council members. Macky Sall attributed the announcement to disputes over the electoral candidates’ list. The National Assembly cast votes on February 5 to postpone the elections. Numerous irregularities related to the electoral procedure initiated a series of mass protests around the nation. Before the voting process began, security personnel withdrew opposition MPs and lawmakers from the premises of the legislative building, which led to multiple altercations between security personnel and opposition supporters. Internet services were also interrupted after the declaration of the voting results mainly to suppress the spread of information among opposition groups to prevent mobilization for possible protests. Mass Unrest and Government’s Response Irregularities associated with the National Assembly voting process triggered several protests across Senegal on February 5 as citizens took to the streets to register their displeasure with the outcome. Vandalism of property and the burning of tyres along main roads in Dakar, Ziguinchor, Saint Louis, Mbour, and Mbacke were the highlighting factors of these protests. Over 100 protesters were arrested by police while the use of tear gas was deployed to disperse crowds in Dakar. Clashes between security personnel and opposition supporters and observers also occurred outside the legislative building at Place Soweto in Dakar. Several opposition activists, lawmakers and members of Parliament were arrested on February 6 in anticipation of further protests in the Capital. 3 lawmakers from the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi (Liberate the People) were arrested by security forces. At least 25 journalists were also arrested for reporting on protests in an attempt to allegedly intimidate the media. To add more pressure on the government, nationwide strikes by civil society groups were also announced on February 8. 13 of Senegal’s 20 presidential candidates also formed a collective group to file an appeal to the Supreme Court for what they described as a “Constitutional Coup”. Security personnel were deployed to major cities, including Thies in Dakar, Toulba City in Central Senegal, Richard Toll in northern Senegal, and Kolda in the country’s south. Situations however deteriorated when the use of tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets were fired towards large crowds who were burning tires and hurling stones at security forces. On February 10, students of the Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis clashed with security forces leaving one dead and several injured. In remembrance of the student a silent march was held on February 13 by the Aar Sunu Election movement (Let’s Protect our Election) along the Jet d’eau roundabout route – Ecole Normale Superieure in Dakar. Days later, the violent nature of these protests took a turn on February 17 when the Aar Sunu Election (Let’s Protect Our Election) group organized a peaceful protest with authorization from security forces involving several political parties, religious groups and trade unions. Frequent interruptions of mobile internet were experienced across the country to hinder the dissemination of information and interfere with the organisation of opposition groups and their supporters’ participation in protests. Geopolitical Implications In response to heightened tensions in the country, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged Senegal’s political leaders to promptly reinstate the country’s electoral timetable in alignment with Senegal’s constitution. Foreign governments such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and France advised their citizens to increase vigilance and anticipate further unrest and road blockages, especially roads leading to the Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in Dakar. Notably on February 9, the U.S. Embassy in Senegal issued a warning alert to all U.S. citizens about protest actions in major areas including Colobane, Fass, Medina, and Liberte 6 in Dakar, as well as Thies, Mbour, and Saint Louis. Constitutional Council’s Ruling The Constitutional Council of Senegal, ruled against the postponement of the election on February 15, describing it as unconstitutional. Foreign governments including France and the United States of America have issued statements recognizing the decision of the Constitutional Council and advising all election stakeholders to conduct a timely election in a free and fair manner. President Sall announced his intention to comply with the ruling of the Constitutional Council and his commitment to holding the presidential election as soon as possible. Current Situation On February 22, President Macky Sall announced his intention to step down at the end of his second term, which concludes on April 24, 2024. A two-day political dialogue, which will include civil society groups, political parties and candidates both approved and unapproved by the Constitutional Council, slated to commence, on February 26, aims to assist the government in determining an appropriate election schedule, which will be after the conclusion of his term. As a gesture of goodwill, several opposition MPs, lawmakers and activists who had been detained were subsequently released. However, the main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko still remains in prison. Civil society groups, emboldened by the first authorized protest since the election postponement announcement, have organized another protest scheduled for February 24, with the objective of speeding up the decision-making process for the new election date. Forecast/Outlook Tensions are expected to ease across Senegal after President Macky Sall accepted the Constitutional Council’s ruling and announced he will step down in the coming months. It is also worth noting that heightened security is expected to persist nationwide in anticipation of unauthorized protests by opposition groups and activists at government facilities and public squares mainly

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports


Driven by soaring inflation and a rapidly depreciating currency, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, finds itself in the grip of a severe economic crisis. The significant decline of the Nigerian currency has impacted businesses and citizens, prompting the need for dire solutions. From January 2023 to February 2024, the country witnessed a significant decline in the official exchange rate, plunging by 66% from 462 Naira per US dollar to 1700 Naira per US dollar. Simultaneously, this reflects an alarming gap that has impacted both local and foreign businesses operating within the country. Likewise, criminality and kidnappings have been on the rise, an effect of the current crisis. The hardships have also led to protests and unrest in the country. Economic Hardship In January 2024, inflation reached a debilitating 29.9%, the highest in decades, driven by soaring food prices. This harsh reality pushes nearly 46% of the population below the poverty line, making it difficult for them to afford necessities. Unemployment, especially among the youth, is alarmingly high with a 5.0% surge in Q3 of 2023. There is widespread political instability and corruption, further eroding public trust in institutions following the allegations or irregularities that marred elections held in February, March, and November of 2023. In addition, the country’s 16th President was sworn in on 29 May 2023, ushering in a new era of political actors and the imposition of pivotal policies i.e., the removal of fuel subsidies. Citizens anticipate further policy changes and the influence of external actors on domestic politics, adding complexity to an already volatile situation with anticipated pushbacks from labour unions and aggrieved citizens. Economic Crisis as a Breeding Ground for Criminality and Social Upheaval Nigeria’s economic crisis, with skyrocketing inflation and unemployment, pushes individuals towards perilous choices. Criminal activities have been fueled by the economic crisis, with threat actors exploiting the situation to vandalize public infrastructure as witnessed during the currency scarcity in February 2023. Additionally, the surge in crime and kidnapping highlights the link between hardship and crime. Some resort to kidnapping for survival, viewing it as a quick means to obtain resources. Others are lured by the seemingly easy profit, especially amidst reports of exorbitant ransoms paid for high-profile victims. High youth unemployment breeds frustration and resentment, creating a fertile ground for recruitment by criminal groups. Witnessing inequality and a lack of upward mobility can push some towards acts of violence as a way to express their anger and challenge the perceived unfairness of the system. Ultimately, the surge in kidnappings in Nigeria paints a stark picture of how economic hardship, political instability, and social injustices can intertwine to create a desperate and volatile environment Political instability fuels this crisis further. Weak governance and corruption act as recurrent factors, eroding public trust and leaving communities vulnerable. This lack of accountability incentivizes criminal activity, knowing the chances of capture and prosecution are low. Adding to the mix is the lack of opportunities and perceived injustice. Economic downturns can lead to unrest by igniting resentment. Demonstrations to express discontent have begun across Nigeria as seen in Oyo State on 19 February 2024. Geopolitical Variations Economic hardship affects Nigeria differently across its regions. The North East and North West face security challenges like Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram insurgency, and banditry, driving some towards criminal activities. The North Central experiences protests and communal clashes as well as abductions and robberies. In the South-South, historical grievances cause discontent and conflict, fostering oil bunkering and kidnappings. The South East struggles with uneven development, while the South West deals with high living costs pushing some towards theft and kidnappings. These regional issues intersect with broader economic struggles, creating complex challenges. Conclusion The truth of Nigeria’s crisis lies in the undeniable link between economic hardship and the surge in criminality and social upheaval. From the North’s desperate struggle for survival to the South’s societal woes, regional nuances paint a complex picture. While current responses offer temporary relief, lasting peace demands systemic change. Empowering youth, tackling corruption, and building a just society are not just ideals, but essential steps toward a secure and prosperous Nigeria.        

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, security analysis, SECURITY THREATS


Armed robbery is the most predominant violent crime across the country including the South Western part of Nigeria. Ogun State which houses most of the higher institutions in Nigeria, has recorded a high robbery incident rate, precisely in Remo North and Ijebu-Ode Local Government Areas. At least four attacks have been recorded in these locations, a precedent which has triggered protests by some student populace. Students, who reside in hostels distant from the main school campus, with limited access to equipped security personnel have often been primary targets of these attacks in recent times. Factors such as low-level employment rate, socio-economic disparities, drug abuse, and cultism as well as the proliferation of arms, mostly locally made Small Arms Fire (SAFs), have increased the risk of robbery attacks in student communities. In Remo-North for example, students were victims of attacks at least three times between December 2023 and January 2024. MODUS OPERANDI The assailants attack students’ hostels at midnight, mostly between 2300-0200 hrs, to reduce detection of their movements. By breaking down doors or windows, the attackers gain access to their victims’ rooms, scaring them with guns to command cooperation. Reports on open sources have also revealed that those who refuse to cooperate are assaulted and injured, and in extreme situations, killed, as was recorded on 2nd December 2023, in Sapaade, Remo North LGA. NOTABLE ROBBERY ATTACKS Between December 2022 to January 2024, at least twenty incidents of armed robbery were documented in Ogun State, with a high rate of casualty and loss of valuables worth millions of naira during the attacks. On 24 October 2023, armed individuals attacked the female private hostels of the Tai Solarin University of Education in the Ijagun village in the Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of the State and sexually assaulted at least four female students, while valuables including cash, laptops, and phones were stolen. Further information shows that an undisclosed number of students were injured during the assault. On 2nd December 2023, incidents were documented in the Ode-Ipara and Isara communities in the Remo-North Local Government Area of the State. A student was killed, while nine others were wounded after the assailants fired gunshots during the attack. It was stated that this attack occurred four days after students protested recurrent attacks in their community. The school was reportedly closed down for two weeks following the incessant armed robbery attacks on the students. IMPACTS ON STUDENTS Robberies have profound and detrimental effects on students.  Beyond the immediate loss of the student’s valuables, the psychological impact can be severe, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and a sense of vulnerability. The emotional toll may affect academic performance, disrupting focus and concentration. Students may also experience a decline in overall well-being, as feelings of insecurity persist. In some cases, financial strain arises from replacing stolen items, adding additional burdens. GOVERNMENT SECURITY RESPONSE The Public Relations Officer, SP Omolola Odutola, in a statement on 28th November 2023, announced the arrest of three suspected robbers involved in the attacks on the students. In another raid, five suspected robbers were arrested at the Oke Itoku area of Abeokuta. Two stolen vehicles were also recovered from the suspects. He further opined that a proactive operation was conducted based on intelligence, following a security meeting organized by the Commissioner of Police, CP Alamutu Abiodun Mustapha, in response to the shooting incidents at the Gateway Polytechnic. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOL AUTHORITIES Threats in institutions of learning have lingered for years, therefore, it is expedient for schools’ management to collaborate with security operatives to enhance security presence in student residencies. Another recommendation is for schools to establish clear communication channels for students to report any suspicious activities. Addressing the issue involves not only enhancing security measures but also providing adequate support services such as counseling to help students cope with the aftermath of such incidents. SECURITY AWARENESS, CRIME PREVENTION STRATEGIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDENTS Ensure proper verification of locations before renting an accommodation. Report suspicious movements around the residence to the appropriate authorities. Remain vigilant. Avoid distractions like texting or wearing headphones that can make you less aware of your surroundings. Students are advised to walk in groups especially at night or in unfamiliar areas whenever possible. Don’t leave valuable items, such as laptops, smartphones, or cash, in plain sight. Avoid late-night movement. Exercise caution, and if caught off guard, stay calm and avoid struggling with assailants.     Featured Image Source: CC. TAUSED Website



Boko Haram, founded in 2002, is a Nigerian jihadist group notorious for its insurgency, brutal tactics and attacks on civilians in the Lake Chad Basin. Initially, the group sought to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province), on the other hand, emerged in 2016 as a splinter group from Boko Haram, pledging allegiance to ISIS. ISWAP operates primarily in northeastern Nigeria, focusing on expanding its territory and influence. The historical ties between Boko Haram and ISWAP stem from ideological similarities and shared jihadist objectives. However, a rift occurred when ISWAP criticised Boko Haram’s indiscriminate targeting of Muslims and civilians, opting for a more strategic approach while Boko Haram initially aimed to purify Islam in Nigeria by rejecting Western influence and establishing Sharia law. Conversely, ISWAP emerged as a splinter group within Boko Haram, seeking closer ties with ISIS and a more aggressive approach towards establishing an Islamic state in West Africa. Ideologically, Boko Haram was more focused on local grievances, while ISWAP sought to align itself with the global jihadist movement. Infighting Between Both Groups Infighting within terrorist organizations is a common phenomenon driven by power struggles, ideological differences, and personal ambitions. It often weakens the group’s effectiveness and can lead to splinter factions or alliances with rival organizations. The infighting between Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups has led to great losses-loss of lives, properties, and territories, on both ends over time. On 18th November 2023, around 70 terrorists were reportedly killed in a clash between the Boko haram and ISWAP groups at Tumbum Ali Island in Marte Local Government Area. In a similar occurrence, several Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters died in a clash in the Lake Chad Basin on 15th January 2024. Implications For Borno State And Beyond The recurrent infighting among the terrorist factions within Borno State exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation, hindering efforts to provide aid and assistance to vulnerable populations. It also undermines governance structures and stability, hampering socio-economic development and further perpetuating cycles of violence. Although there has been a slight shift from direct attacks on civilians to inter-group battles, the violence still disrupts lives and livelihoods. Clashes displace communities, restrict movement, and hinder access to essential services. The fear and uncertainty created by the conflict further traumatizes a population already grappling with years of insurgency. Effects On The Security Landscape In Borno State And Neighbouring Regions The infighting has created a volatile security landscape, with increased uncertainty and instability. Armed clashes between rival factions, including militant groups and state security forces, have become more frequent, leading to heightened tensions and a greater risk of civilian casualties. Furthermore, the state’s porous borders allow for the spillover of violence into neighbouring regions, exacerbating regional insecurity. Regional And International Security Implications The conflict in Borno State has broader regional and international security implications, as it provides fertile ground for extremist groups to thrive and expand their influence. The presence of Boko Haram and other militant factions poses a significant threat not only to Nigeria but also to neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad Basin region. Furthermore, the proliferation of weapons and the displacement of populations may exacerbate existing security challenges and contribute to regional instability. Government Security Response The Nigerian military has launched offensives against both Boko Haram and ISWAP, aiming to weaken and dismantle their operations. International partners have also provided military assistance and intelligence sharing. However, these efforts have yielded mixed results. Conclusion While the infighting has arguably weakened both groups, it hasn’t eradicated the threat they pose. Clashes continue, and the underlying causes of the conflict remain unaddressed.  After years of infighting and power struggles between Boko Haram and ISWAP, the security landscape in Borno State remains highly volatile. While both groups share ideological similarities, their rivalry has led to violent clashes and shifting alliances, further complicating the security situation in the region. Despite occasional ceasefires and peace talks, the underlying tensions persist, posing significant challenges to efforts aimed at restoring stability and peace. Addressing the fractured insurgency requires a multifaceted approach that combines military operations with comprehensive socioeconomic interventions. This includes efforts to address the root causes of extremism, such as poverty, unemployment, and marginalization, while also strengthening governance and the rule of law. It is also worth noting that reconciliation efforts face numerous challenges, including deep-seated grievances, distrust between opposing factions, and the presence of spoilers seeking to derail peace processes. However, successful reconciliation can lead to stability and the reintegration of former insurgents into society. Conversely, failure to reconcile may result in further fragmentation of the conflict, with splinter groups continuing to pursue their goals through violence. Additionally, regional cooperation and intelligence-sharing are essential for effectively combating cross-border threats and preventing the spread of violent extremism. International support, both in terms of resources and capacity-building, is crucial for implementing sustainable solutions and preventing further escalation of the conflict.   Image Banner Source: Zagazola

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, security analysis, SECURITY THREATS


Plateau State, over the years, has been a hotspot for ethnic-religious conflicts due to various religious and cultural identities. These conflicts result from societal imbalances between groups like the Berom farming localities and Fulani herders. Territorial possessions in this fertile zone emerged as conflict grounds driving rivalry among locals. Various ethnic groups, consisting of Berom, Fulani, and Hausa largely fraternised under religious groupings majorly Christianity and Islam. Ethno-religious Dynamics The majority of the violence recorded in the state is mostly attributed to either religious or ethnic dimensions and at times a combination of both This includes recurrent attacks between groups leaving hundreds displaced. Conflicts over resources such as land and water fueled by perceptions of marginalization and the quest for power and control have exacerbated these issues. The turning point was the massive violence in the state capital Jos in September 2001 (commonly referred to as the Jos crisis) which claimed around 1,000 lives.  Challenges Associated with the Violence Identifying the perpetrators of the attacks poses one of the most challenging obstacles in addressing the violence. Currently, there are no established groups or militias with a recognized organizational structure. No individual or entity has come forward to openly claim responsibility for the violence. While various organizations representing diverse political, economic, and social interests exist across the state, they do not publicly endorse or advocate violence. The Christmas Eve massacre of 2023 in Bokkos and Mangu attests to the conflict’s enduring brutality. During the attack, more than 160 Villages (44 in Bokkos, 11 in Barkin Ladi and 109 in Mangu LGA respectively) were overrun by unknown attackers, resulting in over 409 houses burnt down, 335 deaths, 171 injured with an estimated 18,275 people fleeing from their homes to seek refuge in other parts of the state and neighbouring environs. Way Forward To tackle the challenges arising from ethnic and religious differences in Plateau State, it is important to adopt a comprehensive approach. This includes facilitating dialogue among diverse groups, promoting mutual respect for different backgrounds, and effectively resolving conflicts. Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens, improve governance, and promote inclusive growth. Guidance from religious and community leaders, along with support from advocacy groups committed to the well-being of the community, plays a pivotal role in establishing trust, promoting tolerance, and cultivating a peaceful atmosphere. Joint initiatives that bring together government agencies and civil society organizations are essential for creating a setting conducive to open dialogue, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.



Introduction Terrorism is one of the most significant threats to peace, security, stability, human rights, and social and economic development. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed the use of airstrikes as a counter-terrorism measure to curb the operations of terrorist groups in Nigeria, which predominantly are Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists. These airstrikes are primarily carried out in Niger, Yobe, Zamfara, Borno, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Katsina States. Successful Operations Successful airstrikes which entail disrupting terrorist operations by targeting their bases, supply routes, and commanders have been recorded by the NAF. These operations demand, but are not limited to, precise and timely intelligence, as well as cooperation between armed forces, intelligence agencies, and international allies to ensure precision targeting and minimal collateral damage. These operations may erode the group’s capabilities, reduce its operational area, and damage its ability to plan and carry out missions. On 10 August 2022, the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) launched air strikes, killing 28 bandits, including bandit leader Alhaji Shanono in North Central Kaduna State. On 2 November 2023, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) under Operation Hakin Kai fired airstrikes at terrorist camps and reportedly neutralized 160 terrorists in Geidam and Gwoza Local Government Areas in Yobe and Borno States. On 6 November 2023, the NAF reportedly neutralized an unconfirmed number of terrorists in Asagar village, Mobbar Local Government Area, Borno State. On 11 October 2023, at least 100 bandits were reportedly killed by the airstrikes of the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Collateral Damage Airstrikes can do significant damage to terrorist groups, but these operations frequently have limitations that inadvertently cause civilian casualties or damage infrastructure, leading to public backlash and negative sentiment towards the government or the forces conducting the strikes. According to reports, between September 2017 and 2023, military accidental bombings killed an estimated 425 people. In Borno State, on 17 January 2017, an accidental airstrike on an Internally Displaced Person’s camp in Rann Town, Kala Balge Local Government Area resulted in 172 casualties including 52 fatalities, and on 13 April 2020, 17 people, including children, were killed after a NAF fighter jet bombed Sakotoku village in Damboa Local Government Area of the State. In Katsina State, a NAF fighter jet struck Kunkuna village in the Safana Local Government Area resulting in 14 casualties including a fatality on 7 July 2022. In Niger State, a NAF fighter jet reportedly fired a bomb targeted at terrorists in Kurebe village in Shiroro Local Government Area which resulted in 6 civilian fatalities, all children in April 2022.  Similarly, in January 2023, an accidental airstrike at the border linking Benue and Nasarawa states at the Doma Local Government Area in Nasarawa State resulted in 37 fatalities. Most recently, an accidental airstrike occurred at Kaduna State during Maulud celebrations in Tudun Biri of the Igabi Local Government Area resulting in 151 casualties, including 66 fatalities on 3 December 2023. Conclusion    Although airstrikes can be part of counter-terrorism efforts, their success depends on a larger strategy that includes intelligence gathering, socioeconomic development, governance improvements, community engagement, and diplomatic measures to address the root causes of terrorism and prevent its resurgence. Image Source: Daily Post/Humangle

CURATED OSINT, Maritime Security, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS


Introduction There has been a significant shift in criminal activities along the Nigerian maritime landscape in recent years, with smugglers adapting to the evolving enforcement strategies of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and other maritime security agencies. Criminals have built syndicates that have dominated the waterways and open sea highlighting the impact of piracy and smuggling. Due to this, illegal activities have increased along waterways, posing a serious threat to maritime security and necessitating reevaluation of enforcement measures. Smugglers’ Tactics Smugglers have relocated their operations to the waterways because of intensified customs operations on land, according to investigations. Contraband goods en route to Nigeria now often follow a circuitous route, being shipped to neighbouring countries within the sub-region. These illicit cargoes are then transported at night or during the day on clandestine jetties scattered throughout Lagos waterways and other Niger Delta states. Criminal Backing Particularly worrying about these activities is the allegations of these smugglers being overlooked by corrupt influential figures in the military, government and diplomatic circles. These criminal syndicates, pirates etc are not only well organised but also heavily armed. The alleged corrupt alliance presents a serious challenge to the efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat these illegal acts. Customs’ Battle on the High Seas The Customs Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, highlighted the gravity of the situation when, in June this year, a truckload of Indian Hemp was intercepted in the Lekki area of Lagos state. The contraband was offloaded from a boat originating from Ghana. However, in a brazen display of criminal sophistication, five out of the six trucks loaded with the smuggled goods managed to evade customs operatives in the darkened Lekki expanse. This highlights the continued efforts displayed by security operatives, however, there are loopholes in the execution of these operations. Kidnappings and Localized Threats The maritime challenges extend to local waters, with criminals often referred to as ‘pirates’ and operating within the Niger Delta and Lagos waterways. Kidnapping for ransom and attacks on local cruise ships are common, directly threatening the security of local communities in the region. Although there was a notable drop in maritime kidnapping activities as of October 2023 due to the rebound of oil prices amidst the Ukraine and Russia war, the threats persist. Diverse Criminal Activities and Rising Threats Recently, reports have shed light on the intricate web of smuggling routes, revealing that approximately 90% of Indian hemp in the country enters through the West African sub-region. This is facilitated by the substance’s legal status in many French-speaking countries within the region, providing smugglers with a seemingly seamless passage into Nigeria. The rise of smuggling is not limited to contraband. Criminal organizations use various methods to smuggle Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as gasoline, into neighbouring countries. The porous nature of the nearly 800 km-long border has made it difficult to deal with the illegal movement of fuel, drugs, people and foreign goods. OPERATION WATER GUARD: A Strategic Initiative In response to the increasing maritime threats, OPERATION WATER GUARD by the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy was initiated in the border areas of Benin Republic focusing on the waters of Badagry in Lagos and parts of Ogun state. The objective of the operation launched on 9 November 2023 is to make Nigerian waters and borders inaccessible to maritime pirates and smugglers. The operation uses intelligence-led research to supplement existing checkpoints and improve their oversight. The current increase in crime on maritime routes demands immediate and strategic response. Strengthening maritime security requires cooperation between different agencies. from Customs and the Navy to intelligence agencies. Shared intelligence and enhanced surveillance capabilities can help break the networks that facilitate these illegal activities. Navigating Troubled Waters Amidst End of the Year Festivities As Nigeria faces multifaceted maritime security challenges, there is a need for concerted and determined efforts to protect its waters. Ongoing security operations which are commendable initiatives, highlights the need for continued flexibility and cooperation between all security agencies. The approaching holiday season brings concerns about the possibility of a decline in security activities along waterways. According to trend analysis, concentrated efforts and deployment of security forces across different states are anticipated during festive periods on land, which could exacerbate the threat posed by criminal groups on the sea. As the country faces this critical alert, addressing the root causes and strengthening safety measures are essential for a safer maritime environment.

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