Nigeria’s Plateau State has been the scene of inter-community violence since the 1990s, involving several clashes in the city of Jos that took many lives within a matter of days.
Between 1997 and 2014 different Commissions of Inquiry (COIs) were established to investigate specific episodes of violence and come up with recommendations to resolve the violence. Recommendations were rarely, if at all, followed. Specifically, the recommendation to the government to investigate and prosecute perpetrators and instigators of violence has not been implemented. The study of these commissions shows how politics at different levels of government and civil society have limited the effectiveness of COIs in delivering justice and accountability. Collective civil society mobilisation was hampered by fragmentation and diverging perspectives on justice. Over time, lack of responsiveness to COI reports has further eroded state legitimacy. Awareness of political dynamics needs to be the starting point for establishing the legal underpinnings and mandate of COIs.