Nigeria’s Northwest region, while not suffering from the scourge of the Boko Haram insurgency, does have its own serious security challenges. The cocktail of insecurity in the area consists of farmer-pastoralist conflicts and rural banditry. While exploring the drivers of such conflicts across Nigeria’s Northwest landscape, the article explores the resilience of specific local institutions and actors, particularly community-based vigilante groups in responding to violent threats. Frustrated with what they regard as the nonchalant attitude of the state and security institutions, chieftaincy and traditional institutions within the affected areas have made attempts to respond to insecurity. A key manifestation of this mobilization is the organization of vigilante groups at the forefront of community self-defense and security efforts. The article argues that studying the response of these communities provides a better understanding of how local actors cope with and, collectively, create a measure of order and security. In this regard, the resilience of local institutions and people in communities in Northwest Nigeria helps to explain how they respond and adjust to a complex and fluid landscape of insecurity.


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pp. 123-142
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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