1999 - 2002
WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN NIGERIA
The sudden death in June 1998 of Nigeria’s military head of state, Sani Abacha, and his successor’s unexpected transfer of power to a civilian government set off a much anticipated democratic transition in Africa’s most populous country. Working in concert with other parts of USAID and the U.S. Government, USAID/OTI placed initial priority on sustaining the momentum toward the re-establishment of civilian democratic rule. Once President Olusegun Obasanjo was inaugurated in May 1999, USAID/OTI initiated a nationwide good governance program.
USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN NIGERIA
To sustain a peaceful transition toward national reconciliation and democracy, USAID/OTI’s Nigeria program focused on:
- Supporting civil society efforts to mitigate conflict;
- Promoting development of a conflict management infrastructure; and
- Encouraging reform of the national police.
- Conflict management: USAID/OTI sponsored a nationwide training program with special emphasis on the north, the Niger Delta and other conflict-prone areas. The program included a broad-based conflict assessment review and helped strengthen local groups involved in conflict management.
- Civilian-military relations/police reform: USAID/OTI was instrumental in jump-starting comprehensive reform efforts in civilian-military relations while strengthening relations at the local level. USAID/OTI also worked with other U.S. Government agencies and international donors to help the Government of Nigeria develop a strategy for reforming the civilian police force, an important step in enhancing citizen security.
- Media and civil society support: USAID/OTI focused resources on local civil society groups who were mobilized to engage the Nigerian people on key transition issues as well as on anti-corruption and good governance. USAID/OTI also supported activities that enhanced media coverage of these issues by promoting an ethical, balanced and responsive media and by providing training and technical assistance. USAID/OTI's local partners were encouraged to use the media to enhance public awareness by critically analyzing issues and engaging in dialogue with their elected officials.
2014 - 2021
WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is one of the United States’ strategic allies in sub-Saharan Africa, where the U.S. Government supports Nigerian efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, promote good governance, counter corruption, and improve security. Despite a successful democratic transition of power in 2015, Nigeria’s structural problems increasingly manifest in violent conflicts across the country, including the rise of violent extremist organizations, criminal gangs, and intercommunal violence. Nigeria has also witnessed deteriorating security and brazen attacks against civilians in the Middle Belt region. USAID/OTI programming helped communities affected by violence participate in the recovery of their towns and villages and work towards a more inclusive and secure future. Reducing violence and mediating conflict was crucial to identifying durable solutions for Nigeria’s intractable security problems.
USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN NIGERIA
USAID/OTI worked in northeast Nigeria from 2014 - 2020 to help deny violent extremist organizations (VEOs) the space and resources to operate. Through small scale, strategically targeted assistance to local partners under the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative and then the Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin Program, USAID/OTI worked with youth to enable them to be more resilient against VEO influence and recruitment; increased the resilience and security of key communities; strengthened the voices of womens and girls so they could be active leaders in their communities; rebuilt trust between communities and governing authorities; and supported the reintegration of former VEO affiliates as a component of the Nigerian Government’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process.
From 2020-2021, USAID/OTI’s Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative strengthened community resilience to conflict and supported conflict prevention mechanisms in Nigeria’s Middle Belt by addressing community-identified priorities to build individual and community resilience against conflict and violence, and strengthening the ability of vulnerable individuals and communities to represent their interests and promote peaceful solutions to conflict.
USAID/OTI empowered more than 75 youth activists from Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria at the first Regional Youth Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in Maiduguri. Participants created country-specific CVE action plans, initiated follow-up meetings in additional countries and built a network of peers who are fighting a common enemy across the region.
USAID/OTI restored communication capabilities by bringing mobile phone connectivity to more than 230,000 residents in five towns most affected by the insurgency. Additionally, USAID/OTI restored radio stations to provide communities with access to credible and relevant information.
USAID/OTI provided basic equipment and early warning systems training to improve local early warning groups’ effectiveness. USAID/OTI’s support strengthened the capacity of volunteer teams to provide a safety net for their communities by monitoring risks and suspicious activities, collecting information, and coordinating with relevant authorities to prevent crime and violence.
USAID/OTI trained 200 individuals from six communities across Kajuru and Jema’a Local Government Areas in southern Kaduna, to be psychological first aid responders able to provide peer-to-peer counseling to fellow community members affected by the recent trauma of violence and abuse.
USAID/OTI worked with the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, local leaders, and local government officials to provide rapid relief to over 1,000 displaced people who fled violence in Chikun. In addition to providing food and essential supplies for the displaced population, USAID/OTI provided lavatories, wash stations, and water boreholes for the host community and addressed critical security needs through new streetlights, wire fencing, and training for local warning groups.