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December 19, 2019

Nigeria
Sultan of Sokoto Responds to Sowore's Imprisonment in Nigeria

On December 12, the Sultan of Sokoto publicly said that disobedience to court orders is “a recipe for lawlessness and chaos.” He said, “We must regularly obey and respect the laws of our land. We should never disregard the laws to avoid the consequences. If a court makes a judicial pronouncement on a particular matter, it should be obeyed to the letter.” Though he never mentioned Sowore by name, the Sultan’s audience understood that the context was the State Security Service (SSS) invasion of a court room and the re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore contrary to court order.

The sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, speaks to the media at the state house in Abuja, on December 27, 2011.

November 21, 2019

Nigeria
Abacha, Abiola, and Nigeria’s 1999 Transition to Civilian Rule

The 1999 transition of Nigeria from military to civilian, democratic government, is a defining moment in Nigerian history, representing the beginning of the longest, uninterrupted government since independence in 1960. But what exactly transpired during the period of transition, which began in earnest with the death of military dictator Sani Abacha in1998, is not entirely clear. Max Siollun, in a fascinating study of the period, Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune, has done us a service by illuminating some of the behind-the-scenes machinations of that period, and putting to bed some of the rumors that passed for history.

A supporter of Chief Mashood Abiola holds up a newpaper during a demonstration outside the family home July 10 to protest about the suspicious nature of his death.

October 4, 2019

Nigeria
The Legacy of Nigeria's 1999 Transition to Democracy

Commentators, especially outside Nigeria, saw the elections of 2015 as an important milestone for the country’s democratic development breaking the pattern of rigged elections. However, could it be that it was the elections of 2011 that really broke the pattern, and the elections of 2015 merely restored it? Were in fact the elections of 2015 much better than those before and after? Did the political classes determine that Jonathan had to go, in part because of the deteriorating economy and security situation, but also understanding that the 1998–9 bargain struck between the south and the north be restored? Will the bargain survive in 2023? 

Obasanjo walks past a cheering crowd in a white robe.

August 7, 2019

Nigeria
Attacks on the Media Continue Unabated in Nigeria

There has been a string of arrests of media personalities and suspensions of media outlets in Nigeria. Recently, some of the arrests have been related to support for a protest tagged “Days of Rage” and #RevolutionNow, against what supporters consider a failure of governance, but the harassment of media in Nigeria is nothing new. 

A man looks at a newspaper headline in front of a newspaper stand in Abuja, Nigeria.

August 1, 2019

Nigeria
Notes From Yobe State on Living With ISWA

From far away it is difficult to know what daily life is really like in an area controlled by a Boko Haram faction. Chitra Nagarajan, a journalist and author who has written for the Guardian (UK), among other publications, recently spent time in Yobe State doing research on gender.

A girl walks past a bull stall on the street in Dapchi.

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

April 17, 2019

Nigeria
Boko Haram Evolves and Persists in Northeast Nigeria

The Shekau and al-Barnawi factions of Boko Haram continue to evolve and even grow. Changes in leadership and tactics raise questions about the extent of their affiliation with IS and overall stability, but they also indicate that the movement is far from defeated.

Niger-Diffa-Boko-Haram

April 16, 2019

Republic of Congo
The Daughter of Republic of Congo's President and a $7 Million Apartment in New York

Globa1 Witness, a non-profit corruption watchdog, is reporting that the daughter of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), purchased an apartment for $7 million i…

Congo-Brazzaville-Presdent-Sassou-Nguesso

March 12, 2019

Nigeria
Suspected Leadership Changes to IS-Backed Boko Haram Faction Continue

In September 2018, there were reports that Nur was murdered by his own faction because he was too “soft”, that he misappropriated ransom money, and even that he might have been open to a dialogue with the Nigerian government. In late February 2018, ISWA reportedly replaced al-Barnawi with Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi.

Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Attack-Funeral

January 31, 2019

Nigeria
A Brewing Constitutional Crisis in Nigeria

Udo Jude Ilo is the Nigeria country representative for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Yemi Adamolekun is the executive director for Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE). Last week,…

Nigeria-Supreme-Court-Onnoghen-Buhari