About this Talk
The report "Do not come out to vote" uses the February 2023 elections in Nigeria as a lens to examine evolving trends in political violence, the role of criminal gangs and their participation in different illicit economies between election cycles.
Political violence is a major obstacle to democratic processes worldwide. Violence perpetrated in pursuit of electoral victory has widespread consequences: the destruction of lives and property, the displacement of people, undermining the credibility of the electoral process, and the erosion of public trust in democratic institutions.
In countries throughout Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone, gangs play a pivotal role in political violence. When they are not perpetrating political violence, the same gangs often engage in a range of illicit markets. Yet, so far, analyses have not adequately scrutinized the link between gangs, political violence and illicit markets, predominantly understanding them as separate phenomena. The link between political violence and illicit markets is a significant concern as it provides criminal actors with political cover and access to the means to perpetrate further acts of violence and criminality.
Focusing on Kano and Rivers states in Nigeria, the report explores the implications of such intersections for politics and governance, and identifying potential ways to disrupt such links.