Reducing Armed Conflict Across Nigeria (Middle Belt)
Year(s): 2016 – present.
Location: Nigeria (the Middle Belt is composed of 15 federal states).
UN Regional Group: Africa.
Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict, Risk of a Conflict Relapse, Risk of a Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict.
Type of Initiative: Peace infrastructure.
Main Implementing Organisation(s): Nigerian state-level governments with donor support.
Summary: The development of a peace infrastructure across the Middle Belt of Nigeria has helped to reduce armed conflict and prevent electoral violence.
Description of Case
The 2015 presidential election placed armed conflict across Nigeria firmly at the fore of domestic politics. Following the successes in mediating a series of peace declarations in states across Nigeria’s Middle Belt in 2013-2016, the regional administrations of three federal states (Plateau, Kaduna, and Adamawa) elected to establish agencies to support the ongoing peace processes and consolidate the peace that was being forged. In February 2016, the governor of Plateau State created the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA) and tasked it with promoting a culture of peace and harmonious coexistence for the diverse population on the Plateau. Working directly with the governor and state cabinet, the PPBA informs policy in addition to running programmes across the state. These include an initiative to work with traditional elders to set up peace committees in each of Plateau State’s 17 districts, hosting ongoing consultations and stakeholder fora, as well as collaborating with civil society and non-governmental organisations to mediate peaceful resolutions of conflicts. The PPBA is largely focused on managing farmer-pastoralist conflicts but contributed to ensuring the 2019 elections went ahead peacefully on the Plateau. In November 2017, the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KSPC) was created with the same mandate as the PPBA but enjoys a position that is more independent from government than its counterpart. In its first year, the KSPC intervened in ten different conflicts (with some support from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue) and began establishing peace committees in 21 of the states’ 23 districts. The following year, this model was again replicated in Adamawara State and strengthened in 2020.
These state-level efforts to reduce armed conflict in Nigeria’s Middle Belt emerged from the governing administrations of each state. However, funding is limited to the salaries and running costs of the organisations. As a result, financial contributions and the delegation of expertise from organisations including the German development agency (GIZ), Ford Foundation, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Search for Common Ground, and the United States Institute for Peace continue to play a vital role in building capacity, improving practice, and facilitating interventions. While the situation in Nigeria remains complex (with particular regard to the anti-grazing laws and Boko Haram insurgency), these initiatives have reduced armed conflict and ensured peaceful elections in this historically conflict-prone region in 2019.
 Plateau Peace Building Agency. About Us. (PPBA, 2021) Available at: https://www.plateaupeacebuilding.org/index.html (Accessed 6/12/2021)
 Darren Kew. “Nigeria’s State Peacebuilding Institutions: Early Success and Continuing Challenges.” USIP Special Report, No. 496. (2021) p.7
 Kaduna State Peace Commission. Who We Are. (KSPC, 2021) Available at: https://kadunapeacecommission.org/ (Accessed 6/12/2021)
 Kew. “Nigeria’s State Peacebuilding Institutions.” p.11
 Darren Kew. “How to calm violent crises? Nigeria has an idea.” USIP Analysis and Commentary. (4 June 2021) Available at: https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/06/how-calm-violent-crises-nigeria-has-idea (Accessed 6/12/2021)