Maiduguri: City report

Working Paper 14

Imrana Buba, Abubakar K Monguno, Haruna Ayuba, Kingsley L Madueke and Stephen B Ajadi

May 2024


Maiduguri, the largest city in northeast Nigeria and the capital of Borno State, faces multifaceted challenges stemming from endemic poverty, governance gaps and the lasting impact of the Boko Haram insurgency that started in 2009. This report, employing the African Cities Research Consortium’s conceptual framework, delves into the political settlement, city systems and development domains that shape Maiduguri’s urban development. The research draws from secondary and primary data (including structured and semi-structured interviews with 5,110 residents, 193 in-depth key informant interviews, and 37 group interviews with 186 participants). The report explains how the political landscape is marked by power concentration in the state governor, and intersects with issues of “godfatherism” and limited influence for some demographic groups. After analysing the systems by which various actors and agencies attempt to sustain and improve urban life, the study focuses on three key developmental domains: youth and capability development, safety and security, and land and connectivity. Youth and capability development highlights challenges such as access to education, unemployment and exclusion, despite the resilience of optimism among young people. Safety and security explores the persistence of crime levels and the emergence of locally organised self-defence efforts, despite interventions following the Boko Haram insurgency. The land and connectivity domain analyses the impact of road and drainage connectivity on land valuations, emphasising the politicised nature of government investments. Overall, the report contributes an in-depth understanding of Maiduguri’s complexities, offering insights into the political economy and prospects for suggested reforms. While acknowledging limitations, it suggests areas for further research and optimisation of the conceptual framework at the city level.


Political settlement, governance, city, reform, security, post-conflict, youth, land