The Biggest Security Threat Facing Africa’s Largest Economy Today

The crisis started as tit-for-tats between rural farmers and herders over cattle destroying crops in 2011. But it has now exploded into a full-fledged ethnic conflict between two of Nigeria’s most prominent communities: the Fulani, traditional herders with a population of seven million, and the Hausa, farmers with an estimated population of 25 million in Africa’s largest nation. The violence has claimed more than 300 lives since the start of 2019, security experts say, threatening to exceed the 411 civilians who died in clashes with Boko Haram in all of 2018. To many Nigerians, the spiraling ethnic conflict is also a reminder of the political neglect that fed the rise of Boko Haram. As internal refugees move to neighboring states, the parallels are only growing. Refugees escaping Boko Haram are today spread across the Lake Chad region. Major Nigerian cities — from Abuja to Kaduna, the capital of the Northwestern province by the same name — have recently witnessed large protests by youth demanding more proactive political engagement from the country’s government to cool the ethnic crisis.

SOURCES: OZY

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