post / 22 September 2022

PAST EVENT: IFIT’s Middle Belt Brain Trust and the Embassy of Ireland in Abuja  mark launch of “Ending Violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt” strategic report

Photo (left to right): MBBT Chairman General (Rtd) M.L. Agwai; Ene Ode, Country Director, Action Aid; Shane Rice, Irish Embassy; Thomas Jr Bimba, IFIT Local Coordinator in Nigeria; and Matthias Dold, German Embassy.

On 20 September 2022, IFIT’s Middle Belt Brain Trust (MBBT) and the Embassy of Ireland in Abuja held an event to launch  the MBBT’s comprehensive strategic report, Ending Violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

Hosted by the Embassy of Ireland, the  event was attended by representatives from USAID; the Netherlands; Finland; Germany, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Sweden; Norway; the Norwegian Refugee Council; TY Danjuma Foundation; and GIZ, among others. 

Attendees discussed the rationale behind the selection of the Middle Belt as the  focus of the report, as well as the worsening trends – including high levels of violence – that have been affecting the region in recent years. It was highlighted that the problems experienced regionally within the Middle Belt are representative of dynamics in Nigeria as a whole, and that the north-south overlap combined with the area’s significant ethnic diversity make regional security crucial for the entire country. Furthermore, the methodology used during the two-year research process, as well as the key takeaways for local actors and institutions (see page 34 of the report), were discussed.

Unlike existing literature and understandings, IFIT’s research concretely demonstrates the multifaceted and multidimensional nature of the conflict in the Middle Belt. Based on an exploration of documentary evidence and drawing on existing access and relationships with the communities most affected by conflict, the report highlights the complexity of reducing violence and the important promise of new lines of action across multiple areas, while recognising the diverse geographies of conflict drivers and actors.