This month’s briefing reflects on the security challenges inherited by President Buhari as we mark one month since his inauguration. Though territorially diminished, Boko Haram shows no sign of being defeated. As NSN member Ryan Cummings notes, the group has continued to carry out attacks in recent weeks, killing up to 82 people, including in direct assaults on the capital of Borno state.
As we have suggested in the past, it would be wrong to equate Boko Haram’s territorial losses with defeat. NSN member Saratu Abiola’s recent interview with an IDP fleeing Boko Haram is a reminder that people in the north-east continue to suffer. With that in mind, we commend President Buhari’s recent call for Boko Haram to come to the negotiating table. Now that the group’s territorial ambitions have been checked, the time may be more conducive to fruitful discussions. Much though depends on Boko Haram’s temperament.
In any case, as Ambassador Campbell reminds us, the solutions to Nigeria’s challenges will take a great deal of time to implement and we should not expect any quick fixes.
New Nigerian president inherits same Boko Haram violence
Ryan Cummings notes that Boko Haram attacks have continued to plague Nigeria’s north-east and neighbouring countries since President Buhari’s inauguration. Boko Haram’s territorial losses have not translated into defeat, with the group reverting to its asymmetric tactics. He also suggests that the insurgency’s relationship with Islamic State may have strengthened it in recent months. Finally, he praises President Buhari for bringing new momentum to the counter-insurgency, particularly by relocating Nigeria’s military command to the north-east.
Inauguration day in Nigeria
John Campbell reflects on Nigeria’s presidential inauguration day at the end of last month, drawing attention to the multiple challenges that Nigeria’s new president faces, from the Boko Haram insurgency to the threat of violence in the Niger Delta. He concludes that President Buhari will need considerable time to solve the problems he has inherited.
TAP interview with IDP from Adamawa State
In this interview with an IDP who fled her village in Adamawa, Saratu Abiola’s Testimonial Archive Project again draws attention to the ongoing suffering of people in the north-east. The interviewee explains how her village came under attack and it has been a struggle to find a place to live ever since due to the large number of people fleeing. She expresses her hope that the new government will act to stop the violence.
Key points from this briefing
- Boko Haram has launched several attacks in the last month and people in the north-east continue to suffer
- Boko Haram’s relationship with Islamic State may have strengthened them in recent months
- Circumstances may now be more conducive to negotiations with Boko Haram, if they are willing
- President Buhari should be praised for bringing fresh initiative to the counter-insurgency, particularly by re-locating the military command