Sunday 31 January 2021


On the 29th of  January 2021, a dissemination workshop convened by NextierSPD dissected the outcome of the research: 'Assessing community resilience & peace-building initiatives in north-east Nigeria'. The research was conducted by Prof. Patricia Donli, Prof. D. Dlakwa, Dr. Chris Kwaja Some of those present are:

*Dr. Ndubuisi Nwokolo - Partner/CEO NextierSPD

*Prof. Patricia Donli - University of Maiduguri

*Prof. D. Dlakwa - University of Maiduguri

*Dr. Chris Kwaja - Member, UN Working Group on the Use of Merceneries

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja

*Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo - Technical Lead, MCN Programme

Eight communities in each of the two states - Borno & Adamawa were understudied. The aim was to find out the factors that made communities resilient in-spite of insurgency. The qualitative methodology entailed FGDs, KIIs, etc The samples were inclusive of youth, women and PLWDs.

                                                              Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

Coping strategies:

*Many women and youth have emerged heads of households, decision makers and leaders in communities in order to fill the vacuum created by slain bonafide household heads!

*Kanuris and Hausas agree to live together in peace.

*Churches and mosques preach against insurgency.

*Community early warning strategies (EWS) have been extensively developed.

*Informal stakeholder mapping of residents.

*Change of vocation when farmers can no longer farm. New endeavours: auto mechanic, trading, knitting of men's caps, welding, masonry, tailoring, washing of clients' clothes, etc.

*NGOs create empowerment programmes for the citizenry.

*Communities adopt the spirit of forgiveness as a 'balm'. This trend of thought is amplified by clerics.

*Un-channeled energy of youth directed to sports, weddings, etc

*Civilian JTF and hunters use charms to fortify themselves.

*Security agents are bribed to facilitate easy passage of goods and services.

*Unprecedented synergy between communities and NGOs.


*Influx of SALWs because Borno, for example, is bordered by Chad, Niger, etc. Borno is also at the border of Yobe, Gombe & Adamawa (in Nigeria). The borders remain porous.

*High incidence of SGBV due to displacement. Security forces and humanitarian workers are implicated in the SGBV epidemic!

*Female heads of households involved in survival sex.

*Children heading households and other 'un-accompanied children become thieves, carry teenage pregnancies, get infected with STIs/HIV & AIDS, become drug addicts, continually have cholera because of contaminated water and food.

*Lack of access to farmland implies that there could be food insecurity. Insurgents make it difficult for farmers to farm and harvest their crops in peace.

*Extortion by security agents.

*Improper coordination by security outfits.

*Lack of funds and logistics for local Vigilante groups.

*High incidence of mental illness for women and other vulnerable groups.

*Rising abject poverty in view of the high level of collateral damage and evasive socio-economic life.

*Fish trade in Baga, Borno state banned. The new fish source is Hadeija in Jigawa state. The fish trade seems to have been taken over by the Military! The price of fish has become exorbitant as a result of the powerful middlemen and the longer route to access fish.


Comprise the following: Research (areas to carry forward);Programmatic pillar (intervention) & Policy pillar (how we can engage the people with policy makers). All recommendations should target the people.

*DDRR. Sensitisation of the public is necessary while engaging communities. Beyond the use of radio and the internet, traditional/religious leaders should be involved.

*There should be a coordinated approach to humanitarian intervention. Borno state should not remain a 'tourist site' for every international actor!

*There should be cooperation rather than competition among intervening actors. The faulty perception of one another should cease for progress to be made.

*Women, and indeed more women's associations should be involved in every area of the peace-building process. This is in consonance with WPS, UNSCR 1325. The He for She campaign is relevant here.There should be more women in community governance. For example, there is no woman in the Borno State Security Council!

*Intensify peace-building cultural activities- Sports for peace/Dancing competitions/Peace rallies, etc.

*Disaster response should be stepped up. See for example, NE Development Commission & the 2001 National Disaster Development Plan.

*Set agenda for new Service Chiefs.

The bottom line is that the citizens need to be commended for their resilience in-spite of insurgency.  Government at the local, state and federal levels should ensure that such resilience is sustainable...

Related Links

*De-radicalised BH members still not genuinely accepted by locals

*Understanding BH's past, present & trajectory by M. Nwankpa (eds)

*Terrorist attraction

*The Zamfara Model for curbing banditry in Nigeria is the dismal tunnel to self-destruction

*Living with enemies: How localcommunities in Nigeria are evolving 'symbiotic' relationships with bandits in NW & NC Nigeria    https;//

*With guns you can kill terrorists. With education, you can kill terrorism   #StandWithMalala   https;//

*The complex effects of counter-terrorism policies on Mediation    the

*Nigeria: Conflict trends 

*How insecurity affects the lives of everyone in the Niger Delta




The 28th of February saw me glued to my seat at the conference convened by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with NextierSPD and Young Professionals in Policy & Development. The parley was to examine the implications of the closing and re-opening of Nigeria's borders. Some of the participants are:

*Dr. Daniel Mann - Country Director, FES

*Dr. Ndubuisi Nwokolo - Partner/CEO NextierSPD

*Prof. William Fawole -Keynote Speaker

*Ms. Raheemat Momodu - ECOWAS

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert

*Dr. Chris Kwaja - Modibo Adamawa University

*Dr. Efem Ubi - Discussant

                                                Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the conference

Prof. William Fawole set the tone for the discourse with his insightful paper: 'People vs policy - Border opening in Nigeria: Implications & effects'. He noted that Nigeria has one of the most extensive borders in Africa, making it exceedingly difficult to effectively patrol. Quoting Prof. Wole Soyinka (Nigeria's Nobel laureate), 'Boundaries sliced the same ethnic group into different countries'. He then wondered whether there were any substantive gains from the border closure. His verdict was that he doubted if there were any positive gains. 

Nigeria has been dubbed one of the most dangerous nations on the planet! Nigeria has consistently under-funded foreign policy. The foreign policy budget is number 15 on the budget allocation list! Fawole asserted that our neighbours are bitter that Nigeria's internal insecurity problems are causing them harm. Nigeria needs more 'skillful diplomacy' in this regard. The Rice Millers' Association says since the opening of the borders, there has been an unprecedented influx of rice at the borders - millions of bags of rice are off-loaded daily. This situation has made nonsense of the plan to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production.

                                     L-R: Dr. Daniel Mann (Country Director, FES) & Dayo

Closer monitoring of the origin of goods is germane, if Nigeria is to effectively police her borders. Corruption seems to have hindered positive outcomes in this regard. The paradox that's rather inexplicable is that insecurity was at a higher level during the border closure! 

In my intervention, I pointed out the fact that Nigeria needs value added to all her export, starting with oil, in order to get higher value for her commodities. I also said that policy somersault is the bane of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria. No investor wants to put her/his money in a country where policies change like underwear! No investor wants to lose hard earned money in an economically unstable clime!

What then is to be done?

*Nigeria should assess the global value chain and appropriately fit herself in for maximum returns on investment.

*Policies are not miracles, they require deliberate action. We should put appropriate policies in place, while refraining from changing them at the drop of the hat.

*We should be aware that borders could be conceptualised in a dual fashion - Physical borders (as indicated in maps) and imaginary borders, when we take cognisance of our kith and kin on the other side of our borders - in neighbouring countries.

*Although population is often said to be an economic asset, a poor citizenry, like Nigeria's may be an economic liability!

*Regional integration at the sub-regional level, via ECOWAS, should remain of concern to Nigeria. But Nigeria should stop carrying the burden of ECOWAS. Each member state should contribute equally!

The final verdict was that there were no significant benefits from the border closure. We are watching out for the benefits of the re-opening of the borders.  

Related Links

*The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to support/boost intra-African trade

*Buhari: Border closure failed to stop smuggling of illegal arms into Nigeria

*Tightening loose grip: Border control in Nigeria 


Sunday 17 January 2021


Between the 14th & 15th of January, 2021, the Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN), held its inaugural meeting for the year. FFARN is a forum where academics and practitioners exchange ideas on the farmer-herder crisis with a view to transforming the conflict to more manageable forms. Effort is also geared towards influencing relevant policies that could assuage the effect of the conflict on the populace.

The following are related Blog posts by me:

*Forum on farmer-herder relations in Nigeria (FFARN)

*Socio-ecological analysis of the farmer-herder crisis

*Farmer-herder relations in the Lake Chad and Western Sahel

*Mediating natural resource conflicts in Africa

*Gender inclusive response to the farmer-herder crisis

*Best practices forresolving the farmer-herder crisis

*Emerging trends & dynamics in the farmer-herder crisis 

Since the Covid-19 lock-down in the country last year, this is the first face-to-face meeting in almost a year! FFARN has however had many meetings via Zoom & Google Meet during the seeming 'hiatus'. Members of FFARN were excited to see one another after such a long time. There was loud exchange of banters and we had animated and fruitful discussions during the caucus meetings and the plenary sessions...

                                        Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the first day of the meeting

The online meetings held earlier were assessed and the impact/influence of the work of FFARN on the farmer-herder crisis was evaluated. I facilitated the session on the impact of FFARN. Some of the areas where FFARN has influence are as follows:

*The collaboration between scholars and practitioners has endured.

*The media summit held by FFARN has framed public opinion on the crisis in a more positive light.

*Many publications (Policy Briefs, Occasional Papers,' Explainers', Press Releases etc.) have been published under the auspices of FFARN.

*FFARN's Mentorship Programme for M.Sc & Ph.D students working on the farmer-herder crisis has produced highly rated theses that are the envy of the mentees' peers.

*Numerous publications on the farmer-herder crisis have emanated from scholars and practitioners in FFARN.

*FFARN memebers have been invited to speak at local and international fora - US Congress/British Parliament/ECOWAS/UNOWAS/AU...

*Some of FFARN's Policy Briefs have constituted Early Warning Signals (EWS) for farmer-herder conflicts in various parts of Nigeria, West Africa and indeed the Sahel.

*FFARN's evidence-based research has attracted global attention.

*FFARN's work has opened vistas for inter-agency collaboration with many organisations - CORAFID, IPSS, University of Ilorin, etc.

*FFARN regional convening has called attention to the fact that the farmer-herder crisis is a trans-national challenge.

*FFARN views all issues in the farmer-herder crisis in an unbiased and states-manly manner.

*Stakeholder Mapping by FFARN has led to strategic partnerships - Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), LG Chairmen, Office of the VP, Office of the Head of Service, etc.

*Security outfits like the NSCDD (which is a member of FFARN), now factor in the community-centred approach into programming.

*Many practitioners, by virtue of their association with academics via FFARN, now publish their experiences in the field!

                                      Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the 2nd day of the meeting

The foregoing shows that FFARN has garnered considerable influence since its first meeting in August 2017. In view of the fact that the funding which has aided its operations from inception (provided by SFCG) is fast running out, members tinkered with the idea of registering FFARN with the CAC as an independent organisation. This is because FFARN has been evolving organically and at this stage of its evolution we need to re-think the structure, criteria for membership, etc. I am humbled by my nomination as a member of the Committee to come up with the specific modalities for the evolution of FFARN.

                        L-R: Nathaniel Awuapila (ED, CORAFID) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

I see FFARN evolving into an international NGO, globally acknowledged, in the next few years. I'm sure all FFARN members share my optimism... 

Related Links

*Forests that kill & destroy: Rural banditry in Northern Nigeria by Jibrin Ibrahim
*Ekiti, Ondo, deploy Amotekun in forests, boundaries against herdsmen
*Open grazing is not sustainable BUT can ranching be for now? by Jibrin Ibrahim
*Poisons in red meat, Sunday Igboho, herders & national security by Femi Kusa
*Northern Elders' Forum (NEF): Groups,persons fueling farmer-herder crisis
*West Africa Transitional Justice mechanisms need bottom-up approach
*G5 Sahel: N'Djemena Summit should re-define France-Sahel cooperation
*A different kind of land management: Let the cows stump via 'regenerative grazing'
*Towards a more sustainable future for the Sahel region
*Why the US counter-terrorism strategy in the Sahel keeps failing
*Our lives in exile: Ogun state families displaced by herdsmen speak from Benin Republic
*Farmer-herder conflict in Northern Nigeria: Trends, dynamics and gender perspectives
*Myetti Allah/MACBAN: North can't ignore South's decision to ban open grazing (in the South)
*It's easy to say 'Ban open grazing': The challenge is transition to a new system of livestock products by Jibrin Ibrahim (28th August 2021)
*The virtues of open grazing in Nigeria by Junaidu Maina