Established in the fall of 2018, the Nigeria Middle Belt Brain Trust (MBBT) brings together leading local specialists in areas such as inter-religious dialogue, mediation, community development, and justice reform. Using a customised conflict prevention framework, the group focuses on key medium-term structural and institutional challenges that have an outsized impact on the region’s violence and future prospects.
The MBBT brings together experts from the Middle Belt’s eastern half (the group’s initial focus area) including Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, and southern Kaduna states. Leveraging its deep understanding of the local context and access to international best practices, the MBBT aims to combine top-down and bottom-up approaches that can simultaneously address the region’s challenges from multiple directions, including attention to strengthening intercommunity grievance management systems and boosting youth entrepreneurship.
The MBBT’s early focus has been on Nasarawa State. Using documentary evidence and on-the-ground interviews with community members affected by the state’s most important conflicts, the group has mapped the intricate forces affecting its stability and developed concrete proposals to address them.
Op-EdTraditional Leaders and Quest for Peace, Security in the Middle Belt (May 2022)
As violence in Nigeria's Middle Belt continues to increase, Joseph Atang, a member of IFIT's MBBT, argues that the region's governments should support traditional institutions to play a greater role in resolving civil conflicts. If assigned a constitutional role, made members of the State Security Council, and provided with support to monitor conflict and early crisis warning signs, traditional institutions could more effectively manage disputes at the community level, preventing escalation into deeper violence.
Op-EdSocial Entrepreneurship: Road To Addressing Youth Restiveness In Nasarawa State (March 2022)
This op-ed argues that with the deepening social and economic crisis in Nigeria, there is a need to rethink strategies for addressing youth restiveness in the country. Mike Kwanashie, a member of IFIT's Middle Belt Brain Trust, suggests that this requires a paradigm shift that focuses on identifying, cultivating and empowering youth and community entrepreneurs.
Op-edTime To Build A New Security Architecture In Nasarawa State (July 2021)
This op-ed argues that a new security architecture is needed in Nigeria's Nasarawa State in response to rising levels of violence. Chom Bagu, a member of IFIT's Nigeria Middle Belt Brain Trust, posits that future approaches will only succeed if federal government, state, and community actors work in synergy and if all elements of the community are considered in the development and implementation of the mechanisms meant to protect them.