from Africa in Transition

Nigeria Security Tracker Goes Live

December 27, 2012

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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The Nigeria Security Tracker is now accessible on cfr.org; check it out.

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) is a research project of the Council’s Africa program that I direct. The project was originally envisioned by Asch Harwood. The NST documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic or social grievances. There is a map that documents deaths by state. There are three graphs that show deaths over time; weekly violent deaths by perpetrator (Boko Haram, state security services, and deaths from sectarian/communal violence); and cumulative weekly violent deaths in Nigeria by perpetrator.

The map and graphs are interactive: they organize the data by state but also by timeframe. For example, they show the steady spread of Boko Haram and security service violence from east to west. At the time of President Jonathan’s inauguration, most of the Boko Haram violence was centered in Borno. By the last quarter of 2012, it had spread to every state in the North, though it remained most intense in Borno and Yobe.

The NST data date from President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2011 inauguration day and go through the end of October 2012. It is regularly updated, and data from November 2012 should be included in the next week or so.

The NST is based on a methodical and regular survey of Nigerian and international press reports.

The NST is most valuable as an indicator of trends, not the exact number of victims. Violence is often under-reported in Nigeria and there can be significant differences between official figures and those of other observers. For example, experienced foreign and Nigerian non-governmental organization (NGO) field workers have told me that a rule of thumb is to multiply official death figures by five to get a more accurate picture.

For more on Boko Haram and some conclusions based on the NST, see the Expert Brief I published with Asch Harwood on December 26, and Toni Johnson’s Backgrounder, “Boko Haram,” updated today.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Wars and Conflict

Politics and Government

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