Nigeria’s security environment will be a major talking point in the coming months as the country gears up to the 2019 presidential election.

While President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to confirm whether he will contest for a second term, his record of what he has achieved as President so far will be intensely scrutinised over the coming year – nothing more so than his progress in pacifying Nigeria’s incredibly multifaceted security environment.

In the north and the northeast, Boko Haram – and its multitude of factions – remains a credible threat to regional security.

Across the middle belt and the southeast, Fulani herdsmen are moving southwards and clashing with local communities. The southeast is also suffering from a further regional crisis in the form of the Biafra dispute. While, along the coastline, Niger Delta-based militant groups retain the capability to conduct high-profile attacks against domestic and foreign-owned oil and gas infrastructure in the region.

While these illicit networks have very separate goals and agendas, they are all likely to utilise the upcoming presidential race as a means to advance their individual ambitions. While superficially it would appear that Nigeria’s illicit networks have very limited political access; in reality, their actions can have serious political, economic and social repercussions.