Mapping Violence in Nigeria
The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations' Africa program, documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic, or social grievances. Different groups in Nigeria resort to violence. The militant Islamist movement Boko Haram is active in northern Nigeria. Violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen sometimes acquires religious overtones. A new generation of Niger Delta militants threatens war against the state. Government soldiers kill civilians indiscriminately. Police are notorious for extrajudicial murder.
The Nigeria Security Tracker tracks violence that is both causal and symptomatic of Nigeriaís political instability and citizen alienation. The data are based on weekly surveys of Nigerian and international media and focus on violent incidents directed at government property, places of worship, and suicide bombings. Only those incidents resulting in deaths are catalogued. The NST does not include robberies, muggings, or domestic/sexual violence.
The data start with May 29, 2011, the date of Goodluck Jonathanís inauguration as president. It was an event that highlighted the increasing bifurcation of the country on regional and religious lines. Incidents are cataloged through April 30, 2013. The NST is updated periodically.
Relying on press reports of violence presents methodological limitations. There is a dearth of accurate reporting across certain regions, death tolls are imprecise, and accounts of incidents vary. There is the potential for political manipulation of media. Given these limitations, the NST makes every effort to collect information from multiple, reliable sources.
The Nigeria Security Tracker is edited by Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Studies John Campbell.