Imrana Alhaji Buba wins the Cedric Smith Prize 2024

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Imrana Alhaji Buba, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2024. Imrana is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway. His research is situated at the intersection of social resilience, civilian agency, and the prevention of violence. Before starting his PhD, Imrana worked for a decade as a community development and conflict sensitivity specialist in Nigeria. He also founded the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, a volunteer-based organization in northern Nigeria that seeks to prevent violent extremism through peace education programs. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Imrana’s winning article, “Civilian Protection Payment and the Escalation of Violence against Civilians in Northwestern Nigeria,” published in Global Studies Quarterly, explores the unintended effects of protection payments as a self-protection strategy for communities in northwestern Nigeria and beyond. He argues that communities that pay levies to militia for protection only achieve temporary safety because protection payments transform into acquiescence or resistance, making the community less safe over time. The author’s commendable fieldwork in Nigeria allowed for the inductive development of these novel theroetical expectations.

Imrana’s article fills a clear gap in academic research on civilian strategies to protect themselves. Given the lack of evidence on northwestern Nigeria, the research has important implications for policy and practice. It highlights the need to understand the challenges faced by communities in conflict zones and to evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies to alleviate these pressures. The research suggests that civilians’ choices play a pivotal role in conflict dynamics, opening up a poetntially fruitful avenue for future exploration.

The CRS received eleven excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the following two authors who were shortlisted for the prize: Tessa Devereaux Evans for “To Have and to Hold: The Determinants of Insurgent Gender Governance,” and Kiran Stallone for “Love in war? The strategic use of intimacy in armed conflict” (see here).


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