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The Politics of Protection: Perspectives on Vigilantism in Nigeria

  • David Pratten
Extract

Vigilantism has become an endemic feature of the Nigerian social and political landscape. The emergence of night guards and vigilante groups as popular responses to theft and armed robbery has a long and varied history in Nigeria. Since the return to democracy in 1999, however, Nigeria has witnessed a proliferation of vigilantism: vigilante groups have organized at a variety of levels from lineage to ethnic group, in a variety of locations from village ward to city street, and for a variety of reasons from crime fighting to political lobbying. Indeed, vigilantism has captured such a range of local, national and international dynamics that it provides a sharply focused lens for students of Nigeria's political economy and its most intractable issues – the politics of democracy, ethnicity and religion.

Contemporary Nigerian vigilantism concerns a range of local and global dynamics beyond informal justice.

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References
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