Though there is no single and agreed definition for NSAG, but they are generally known as armed groups not organized, trained and maintained by the state. They are generally are raised and supported by communities, groups or individuals for reasons of defense for several reasons with one or a combination of reasons, which could be political, criminal for assertion nor protection of civil rights, among others. From history, there are evidence that some sovereign state forces have even evolved out of NSAGs or they are integrated into them. NSAGs also exist along and in support of national forces either in emergencies or as a fact of culture or exigences.

In the context of Nigeria, since the advent of democratic rule in 1999, the country is witnessing a rise of NSAGs. This must not be misunderstood that they never existed before then. However, since the growing wave of insecurities that have been emerging since the current democratic experience, the presence of NSAGs has been increasing and with varying implications to national security, as some have even as a mission establish themselves to challenge the Nigerian state and its agencies. Some have also emerged on claims to fill security gaps created by dwindling state capacity to provide adequate desired security and safety to citizens around the communities, states or even regions.

Evidence exists of the recognition and even legitimization of some NSAGs at the various levels of government. While are the Federal level, there is a national vigilante group, the southwestern region established the regional defense force now known as Amotekun. [1]In the northeast also, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF)[2] arose from citizens’ decision to support government forces to fight in the Boko Haram counterinsurgency. Several communities also organize, arm and maintain vigilante groups to security them.

The workshop is designed to discuss the history, types and motivations for the increasing g rise of NSAGs in Nigeria and its implication to national and regional security. Proceedings are to clarify the place of and legitimacy issues around NSAGs under the following considerations:

  • What are the types, nature and motivations of NSAGs?
  • What is the position of national and international laws on NSAGs?
  • What is the nature of relationship between state and NSAGs?
  • What has been the global, continental, regional and national experiences with respect to NSAGs?
  • What are the constitutional and legal provisions on NSAGs in Nigeria?
  • What is the experience with NSAGs in Peacekeeping Operations?
  • What are the implications of the NSAGs to Nigeria’s national security?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for partnership between state and NSAGs?

Expected Outcomes.

It is expected that at the end of the workshop the following will be achieved:

  • A better understanding of the reasons and motivations of NSAGs, their rising prominence across the world, in spite the growth of democracy.
  • The legal positions in local and international law of NSAGs.
  • Challenges and opportunities in the rise of NSAGs to Nigeria’s security sector architecture.