Nigeria became independent from British rule in 1960, but remained a member of the British Commonwealth. British Cameroon was incorporated into the state a year later, and adopted the name Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since then, Nigeria has come to be marked by divisions between the Muslim North and the Christian and Animist South as well as inter-ethnic tensions. Alternating between civilian and military rule since the 1960s, political liberalisation was ushered in with the return of civilian rule again in 1999. However inter-ethnic tensions heightened in Nigeria and a vast number of non-state armed conflicts erupted in the 2000s. In 2009 violent clashes broke out in northern Nigeria between security forces and the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram but abated when the group's leader was killed. The group resurfaced in late 2010 and over the next two years the conflict escalated. The war received wide international media coverage after the abduction of nearly 300 school girls, sparking global outrage and inspiring the movement #BringBackOurGirls.

Another conflict, over land in Nigeria's Middle Belt, between predominantly Christian farmers and mainly Muslim Fulani nomads, also continues at war level.

Peace attempts

In an effort to end Boko Haram's violent activities in Nigeria and Cameroon, the states France, Niger, Chad, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon participated in an international summit in May, 2014 and agreed upon an action plan. This included the strengthening of cross-border intelligence, the intensification of mutual border controls, and the establishment of a Multinational Joint Task Force, which deployed a 1,700-strong contingent in November, 2014.

Nigeria’s recent elections (March, 2015), in which opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari won over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, were closely watched by the international community, and declared democratic by the UN.

Also in Nigeria, four peace agreements were signed throughout 2014 between militants of the Fulani tribe and pastoralist communities, but none of the accords were successful in curbing violence between the groups.

October 19, 2020

For the first time in six months the weekly Doka market in Kajuru town was opened late last month to both Fulani and Adara communities...

July 20, 2020

“We want our people to know that the virus has nothing to do with religion or tribe, it's simply a natural disaster or a global pandemic..."

May 19, 2020

Communities in Kajuru, a region in north-west Nigeria, recently held peace talks despite COVID-19 challenges but are concerned about implementation...

April 16, 2020

Dr Shu’aibu Shinkafi knew the risks he faced when he and his predominantly Muslim group recently traveled into the Christian-dominated Sabon Tasha...

From the long-term impact of school closures, to lessons from previous outbreaks, we take a look at how COVID-19 is playing out in conflict-affected nations.

August 16, 2019

Born into poverty in Kano, Nigeria, Shehu was recruited into a gang when he was just seven years old...

August 11, 2019

With many of the world's current conflicts attributed to divisions between faiths, can religion alternatively be used to foster peace?

July 15, 2019

Hajara Suleiman fled religious violence in her village. Now, she is an example of a transformation happening for many women in Northern Nigeria...

March 26, 2019

With global companies like Coca-Cola, Google, MTN and Skype operating in conflict zones around the world, we ask: Do big corporations have a peacebuilding role?

February 4, 2019

Mohammed was the founder and leader of a violent armed gang under Boku Haram, but when a youth peace group reached out to him it changed everything...

December 21, 2018

In Kaduna state in Nigeria, where religious violence has intensified in the last year, building two places of worship so close seemed like an impossibility...

August 19, 2018

Sylvester Inedu was attacked in Nigeria because of his ethnic background. Here he recounts his experience, and why he hasn't given up hope.

May 14, 2018

Clashes between farmers and nomadic herders have escalated in Nigeria in the past few years, we talk to community leaders about what's driving the conflict...

April 27, 2018

This series from Women for Women International introduces us to eight women who have taken their destiny into their own hands and are empowering others...

April 27, 2018

Peacebuilder Abdulrazaq O Hamzat shares his views on what the Nigerian Peace Index can provide peacebuilders in the country.

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