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AN OUTLINE OF ETHNIC MILITIAS IN NIGERIA
Abstract The insurgent activities in north-eastern Nigeria have gained global attention since 2009 when the acclaimed leader of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf was killed in extra-judicial circumstances by the Nigerian state. The group anti-state activities have reached bloody levels resulting in countless loss of lives and destruction of property. To be sure, there is already a harvest of literature on the more regimented militant Niger-Delta insurgents such as the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) as well as the Islamic Boko Haram sect. This by no means forecloses further research. However, outline of ethnic militias can provide useful background to narrative of insurgent groups in the country. Thus, this article focuses mainly on ethnic militias in the country. It traces the emergence of the militia groups to activities of actors and factors in the nation’s political terrain especially towards the end of the last millennium underlined by the annulment of the June 12 presidential election in 1993. It objectives is to provide a general information on ethnic militias, namely: the O’odua People Congress (OPC), Bakassi Boys, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Egbesu boys, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and Arewa People’s Congress (APC) for a better appreciation of the dynamics of the Nigerian situation. However, it goes on to argue that the activities of the militias are largely counterproductive as they accentuate ethnic rivalry and impede socio-economic intercourse and development of the country. In conclusion, article recommends good governance such that policy output would lead to improvement in the general wellbeing of the people.