As the Boko Haram insurgency continues in the north-east, the Senate is deadlocked on the extension of the state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states. Many senators have complained that emergency rule has made little difference in the region, or even that it has made things worse.
It is important for the government to have a clear legal framework through which it can prosecute the counter-insurgency campaign. Nonetheless, it must ensure this framework does not enable human rights violations or other abuses that are ultimately counter-productive. Tangible assurances on this issue may well help assuage the concerns of many northern senators.
The protection of human rights as part of a successful counter-insurgency strategy is a central point in a new report from Ambassador John Campbell that we feature in this month’s briefing. The report is aimed at the US government and advises what the United States can do to assist Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram.
This month’s briefing also features new analysis from Jacob Zenn on Boko Haram’s recruitment, operations, and financing in the Lake Chad region, a report on Nigeria’s elections from Oliver Owen, observations about Boko Haram’s governance in areas where it has captured territory from John Campbell, a feature on the socio-economic and political drivers of the insurgency, analysis from Ryan Cummings on Chad’s role in the conflict, a piece by Emily Mellgard on the role of youth and the potential for unrest during the upcoming elections, and a new interview from the Testimonial Archive Project.
Nigeria Security Network
Can the US help Nigeria confront Boko Haram?
This report from John Campbell calls on the US government to press Abuja privately and publicly on the human rights record of the Nigerian security forces. It emphasises the importance of tackling the underlying drivers of the insurgency and ensuring the counter-insurgency campaign commands public support. It also calls on the US to reach out to Nigeria’s Muslim population, in part by establishing a diplomatic presence in Kano.
Boko Haram: recruitment, financing, and arms trafficking in the Lake Chad region
This analysis from Jacob Zenn draws attention to new trends in Boko Haram’s recruitment, operations, and financing. It concludes that Boko Haram is using forced conscription to boost its numbers, with as many as 50,000 now estimated to be fighting for or assisting the insurgency. It also notes that Boko Haram is increasingly turning its attention to Cameroon, in part to secure supply lines for weapons.
Incumbency and Opportunity: forecasting Nigeria’s 2015 elections
Co-authored by Oliver Owen, this research suggests President Jonathan is likely to win an overall majority in the 2015 presidential election, but not necessarily the required one-quarter of votes in two-thirds of states.
Nigeria’s Boko Haram moving towards governance?
John Campbell uses this blog to draw attention to media reports indicating Boko Haram is providing security for residents in towns it has captured and ordering shops to open. This would suggest a move towards some kind of governance, though the reports conflict with other stories of Boko Haram violence in occupied communities.
What does Boko Haram want?
This piece analyses some of the socio-economic and political drivers of the Boko Haram insurgency. It advises that any peace deal with the insurgents must include accountability for human rights violations and measures to address under-development in the north.
The Boko Haram ceasefire and the Chadian gambit
In this blog by Ryan Cummings, he analyses Chad’s role in the conflict. He suggests Chad has an interest in promoting stability on its borders by encouraging talks between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, as well as the Chadian president having a personal interest in discrediting rumours that he is a Boko Haram sponsor.
Religion, Politics, and the Youth Factor in Nigeria’s Elections
Emily Mellgard warns that religious and political leaders risk triggering social unrest around the upcoming elections by failing to positively engage young people. She concludes that youth alienation could be a major factor behind future instability in Nigeria.
“I kept my grip firm on the hand with the gun”
In this interview with Saratu Abiola’s Testimonial Archive Project, a resident of Gombe recalls a terrorist attack in which he came face to face with Boko Haram militants.
Key points from this briefing
- The United States can help Nigeria tackle Boko Haram by encouraging it to respect human rights and tackle the underlying drivers of the conflict
- The US should also establish a diplomatic presence in Kano and reach out to Nigeria’s Muslims
- Boko Haram is swelling its ranks with forced conscription and has become much more active in Cameroon
- President Jonathan may struggle to meet all the requirements necessary to win the election outright
- There are reports that Boko Haram is establishing some form of governance in captured territories
- The socio-economic and political drivers of the conflict must be addressed as part of any peace deal
- Chad has a number of motivations to play a constructive role in tackling the insurgency
- Nigerian politicians and religious leaders must do all they can to avoid alienating the country’s youth during this election, or they may otherwise become a future source of instability