Following President-elect Buhari’s victory in the presidential election last month, we were pleased to see the incoming president call for a renewed effort to tackle the underlying causes of the Boko Haram insurgency. Writing in the New York Times, President-elect Buhari called for Nigeria to “address why it is that young people join Boko Haram”, and pointed to lack of education as a core driver of the conflict.
Indeed, education is an important way to tackle poverty and to challenge extremist views. But the full spectrum of underlying causes must be addressed, including not only lack of education but poverty more broadly, political marginalisation, and human rights violations. In particular, accountability for past human rights violations in the fight against Boko Haram would send a powerful signal to the people of the north-east that the new government is serious about addressing the roots of the conflict.
This month’s briefing contains commentary from John Campbell on President-elect Buhari’s new strategy for countering Boko Haram, an interview with the Executive Director of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission from the Testimonial Archive Project, a piece from Jason Warner on how to re-build Nigeria after Boko Haram, and analysis from Emily Mellgard of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
Buhari’s strategy for stopping Boko Haram
In this blog, John Campbell praises President-elect Buhari’s new strategy for tackling Boko Haram, noting that it is astute, realistic, and within his power to implement. He focuses in particular on Buhari’s recognition of the socio-economic causes of the Boko Haram insurgency, and welcomes his decision to focus on female education.
“The responsibility of the state to protect its people doesn’t cease because they have been internally displaced”
Saratu Abiola’s Testimonial Archive Project interviews the Executive Director of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu. The interview focuses on the plight of internally displaced persons in Nigeria’s north-east, and sheds light on abuse of IDPs as well as their exploitation for political purposes during the recent election campaign.
After Boko Haram: how to re-build Nigeria
Jason Warner co-authors this piece on how to re-build Nigeria after Boko Haram. He notes that the conflict has caused enormous economic damage and has uprooted Borno state’s social and political system. If the north-east is neglected now, further turmoil could ensue in the years to come as new armed groups emerge.
What is Boko Haram?
Emily Mellgard provides an overview of Boko Haram’s leadership, ideology, recruitment, and international links in this outline of the insurgent group. She warns that although Boko Haram appears to have been put on the back foot in recent weeks, the group is resilient to eradication.
Key points from this briefing
- President-elect Buhari is right to focus on tackling the underlying causes of the Boko Haram insurgency
- Education is an important area to concentrate on but other areas also need attention, including human rights, political inclusion, and development more broadly
- Internally displaced people in Nigeria’s north-east continue to suffer greatly, including from abuse while in IDP camps
- Boko Haram is likely to prove resilient in the face of recent territorial gains by the government
- However, if Boko Haram can be defeated there must be a major reconstruction effort in the north-east to prevent further conflict