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Why Nigeria Continues to Fail to Defeat Boko Haram?

Autor:   •  March 11, 2018  •  2,124 Words (9 Pages)  •  41 Views

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Corruption within the Nigerian government and military, have compromised all the efforts to deal decisively with Boko Haram. In January 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan shockingly announced that ‘some of sponsors and sympathizers of Boko Haram are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliamentary or legislative arm of government, while some of them are even in the judiciary’[10]. It has been suggested that increasing sophistication of the attacks of the group, one cannot agree less with former President Jonathan that there are truly some Nigerian ‘big men’ that sponsor the operations of the group. However, the government has yet to publicly identify and prosecute the elites in governmental circles who have direct or indirect connections with Boko Haram. This is despite the fact that some Boko Haram members have mentioned some names within the circles of the Nigerian elite. Besides, it is equally unclear if justice would be done on a few politicians that have been arrested for their links with Boko Haram as a result of the corruption and hijacking of the Nigerian judiciary[11]. In a similar vein, two people appointed on the amnesty committee Datti Ahmad and Shehu Sanni declined their appointments on the grounds that earlier reconciliatory efforts they facilitated were frustrated by the government. According to Ahmad, ‘since it is the same government, I will not participate in a program which outcome will be mismanaged’[12]. On the other hand some of the weapons the terrorists use were reportedly stolen from the Nigerian military. Some online media reported in May 2015 that nine generals and some senior officers were under investigation for their alleged role in the sale of arms to Boko Haram.

Military limitations of the Nigerian army have been the other factor behind the failure to deal decisively with Boko Haram. Nigeria's government has also neglected to pour money into its armed forces, out of both greed and fear. Much of Nigeria’s early decades after its 1960 independence were consumed by military coups and countercoups. Since the restoration of democracy in 1999, leaders have found it necessary to starve the military as a way to protect their power, according to Bawa Abdullahi Wase, a security analyst and expert on Boko Haram[13]. In December online news outlet SaharaReporters published a letter from an army commander stationed in Borno, which encompasses Baga, saying that his men were underequipped and that high-ranking military officials were bilking the country of money meant to fight the war. Authorities maintain that the military is handicapped on several fronts. It is not trained to fight an insurgency, is stretched thin by deployments in 32 of the country’s 36 states and a counterinsurgency theater that spans 150,000 square kilometers and lacks vehicles and helicopters to operate in the rugged terrain along the Nigeria-Cameroon border. All these are true, but the affliction runs deeper. Low morale among troops demoralized by inadequate support and heavy casualties and sabotage by Boko Haram sympathizers have all undercut the military’s ability. Internal discontents have spiraled into mutinies. Sixty-six soldiers have been sentenced to death for mutiny and refusing orders to fight since September 2014 and the desertion rate is high. Finally, Nigeria’s counterinsurgency strategy has been hobbled by regional mistrust and frequent disagreements. A multinational force agreed upon by Nigeria and its neighbors in July exists only on paper. Nigeria continues to insist on a force “under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission,” while neighboring countries prefer a force authorized by the United Nations or African Union[14]. In light of the above information it is not surprising why President Mohammad Buhari fired top ranking military personnel when he get into office last year.

Another setback for Nigeria to decisively deal with Boko Haram is that the group have external links with other foreign Islamic militants or the Jihads. The insurgency began as a local movement in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State, since August 2011 there have been increasing signs of international collaboration between Boko Haram and militants outside Nigerian territory, such as in Borno State’s border region, northern Mali, the Sahel, Somalia and other countries in the Muslim world. As a result of these international connections, Boko Haram, which in 2009 was known as a “machete-wielding mob,” has now matched and even exceeded the capabilities of some al-Qa`ida affiliates, while also incorporating al-Qa`ida ideology into the locally driven motives for the insurgency in northern Nigeria[15]. Boko Haram also has a deeper history of involvement in Saudi Arabia Muhammad Yusuf found refuge in Saudi Arabia to escape a Nigerian security forces crackdown in 2004; Boko Haram has reportedly received funding with the help of AQIM from organizations in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia; and Boko Haram’s spokesman claimed that Boko Haram leaders met with al-Qa`ida in Saudi Arabia during the lesser hajj (umra) in August 2011. More recently, the leader of a Boko Haram cell that was responsible for the November 25, 2012, attack on a church inside a military barracks in Jaji, Kaduna, was in Saudi Arabia during the months prior to the attack[16]. Due to external links Boko Haram have become more complicated and difficult to fight because of its ever changing strategies and tactics. In short external links means more funding, more weaponry, highly sophisticated fresh ideas as well as more militant recruitment, all the these have cause a big challenge for Nigeria to decisively deal with Boko Haram.

Inclusion, Boko Haram for the past five years have been a major threat to Nigeria in terms of peace and security of the state. Due to the increasing strength of the group and its external links it has moved from being Nigeria’s own problem but a regional problem which resulted in the participation of other west African powers like Chad, Cameroon and others in the anti-terrorism campaign. Various campaigns were took by the Nigerian military to combat the militants but due to a number of factors as highlighted in the essay Nigeria have failed to decisively deal with Boko Haram. Political scientists highlighted that military force alone is incapable of dealing with the group but there is need for joint cooperation between human intelligence and military force. Some historians have castigated that Nigeria can decisively deal with Boko Haram only if politician bring reform in the country and channel resources to the north which can bring about economic balance between north and south. In hope of political change which took place last year we are hoping that President Buhari and his military reform will bring Boko Harm to its last breath hence


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