Gradually but steadily, the North-West geopolitical zone has been under siege for nearly a decade. In the last two years, violence in the region has witnessed intense escalation as bandits have terrorised several communities. Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Sokoto states have been the worst hit by the activities of non-state violent actors and growing militarisation by state troops. Hundreds of students, farmers and other residents have been kidnapped for ransom; some injured, and a few others killed. The reign of terror has triggered complex emergencies and food insecurity in the troubled and poorly governed region. Responses by national and sub-national governments have been largely reactive and repressive. Though some conciliatory measures such as amnesty have been deployed in some hot spots, the peace deals have rewarded violence rather than engendered stabilisation, social cohesion and peace-building.
Following these developments, this edition of Nextier SPD Policy Weekly examines how inclusive community dialogue can bring about the cessation of violence and promote peace in the region.