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Dec 2020


By Dr Baba J Adamu

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Nigeria is Africa’s most terrorized nation in 2018 according to a report released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace. Several important trends emerged in African countries in 2019, including in Nigeria, where terrorist violence overall decreased due to a reduction in attacks by Fulani extremists, but terrorist violence carried out by Boko Haram increased. Boko Haram also increased terrorist activity in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Besides, Mali saw a 16% decrease in attacks in 2019, but a 41% increase in total deaths due to multiple mass-casualty terrorist attacks in which more than 30 people were killed, compared to zero such attacks in previous years.

The Global Terrorism Index 2018 scored Nigeria third on a list of 138 countries. Africa’s most populous nation was ranked only behind Iraq and Afghanistan. Behind Nigeria was Syria and Pakistan whiles Somalia rounded up the list of countries in the countries that suffered a “very high” impact of terrorism. India, Yemen, Egypt and the Philippines occupied the seventh to tenth spot respectively. Nigeria-based terrorist group, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in Somalia were also listed among the top four deadliest groups. Terrorist activity in Nigeria is dominated by Boko Haram and insurgency by the Fulani and Niger Delta extremists. In 2017, Boko Haram was the deadliest group, with both terrorism deaths and attacks increasing over the prior year. Deaths increased by 34 percent to 1,022 while attacks increased by 62 percent to 222. The Fulani extremists were less active in 2017 than the prior year with deaths dropping by 60 percent to 321, and attacks dropping by 51 percent to 72. However, preliminary data for 2018 suggests that there has been a significant increase in violence committed by Fulani attacks. Together, Boko Haram and the Fulani extremists are responsible for 63 percent of terror attacks and 88 percent of terror-related deaths in Nigeria.

Terrorism has been practiced by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious groups, by revolutionaries, and even by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police. An insurgency, or insurrection, is an armed uprising, or revolt against an established civil or political authority. Persons engaging in insurgency typically engage in regular or guerrilla combat against the armed forces of the established regime or conduct sabotage, harassment and unconventional warfare in the land to undermine the government's position as the leader. The ultimate goal of an insurgent is to challenge the existing government for control of all or a portion of its territory or force political concessions in sharing political power. As a form of unconventional warfare, terrorism is sometimes used when attempting to force political change by convincing a government or population to agree to demands to avoid future harm or fear of harm, destabilizing an existing government, motivating a disgruntled population to join an uprising, escalating a conflict in the hope of disrupting the status quo, expressing a grievance, or drawing attention to a cause.

Today’s society is getting more and more insecure, more people are getting into various forms of crimes and terrorism/insurgency; and they are getting more desperate, ruthless, and sophisticated. Since the independence, the Maitatsine religious violence, the terrorist or insurgency activity from the Niger Delta crisis, from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) group, Oodua People Congress (OPC) group, Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) group and the Boko Haram. In Nigeria today, new forms of violent crimes have been common. These include armed banditry, kidnapping for ransom, pipeline vandalism, ritual killings, armed robbery and ethnic clashes. The sect activities of both Boko Haram (terrorist group), the Shiites and herdsmen/farmers crises presently make Nigerians live their lives in fear without knowing when or where crisis will erupt.

The incidence of insurgency in North-eastern Nigeria has been a phenomenon that affects the socio-economic status of many inhabitants resulting from the devastating effects that it has in terms of destruction of lives and properties worth billions of naira from its inception. There was a perception that Boko Haram started in the early 2000s and the insurgency became formidable around 2010 but, there was a clear correlation between the insurgent attacks from Maitatsine since the 1980s with the contemporary Boko Haram terrorism of today. Marwa (Maitatsine) was known to refer to anyone who sent their children to a state school as an “infidel – an unbeliever,” which is echoed in the contemporary Boko Haram movement (western education is forbidden). The ideology and methodology of Maitatsine and Boko Haram seem similar to some extent and the problem is that the root causes and how the escalation of their ideology exploded into a gory of bloodshed. 

Going back memory lane, Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914, only about a decade after the defeat of the Sokoto Caliphate and other Islamic states by the British, which were to constitute much of Northern Nigeria. The aftermath of the First World War saw Germany lose its colonies, one of which was Cameroon, to French, Belgian and British mandates. Cameroon was divided into French and British parts, the latter of which was further subdivided into southern and northern parts. Following a plebiscite in 1961, the Southern Cameroons elected to re-join French Cameroon, while the Northern Cameroons opted to join Nigeria, a move which added to Nigeria's already large Northern Muslim population. The territory comprised much of what is now North-eastern Nigeria, and a large part of the areas affected by the present and past insurgencies. Following the return of democratic government in 1999, the Muslim-dominated northern Nigerian states introduced relaxed Sharia law, including punishments against blasphemy, perceived insults to Islam. Most would argue that the country is in this mess largely because Nigeria’s political leaders in the past have failed to map-out/profiled extreme individuals and radical religious or social groups that were radical, but not yet violent, allowing them to grow in force. From independence, Nigeria had experienced conflict along ethnic and social lines, but mostly over resources like land and power. The country is also nearly evenly divided between Muslims and Christians, with three distinct languages corresponding to linguistic divisions (Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo), which became a recipe for political turmoil but not religious extremism.

However, the arrival of the Maitatsine’s movement in the 1980s was a sign that the dynamics were changing, and that religious extremism was becoming more prominent in the Middle East in the 1970s was also finding a home in northern Nigeria. That was the best time for the Nigerian Government to commence Conflict Mapping/Profiling to predict a coming generation of conflicts fuelled by ethnicity, social, religious, political, communal or otherwise; and address their root causes. That is why in addressing the root cause of any conflict, it is important to map-out the conflict first, profile some extreme individuals/groups to identify their grievances. The profiling of terrorists and groups will vary greatly from the state, region, circumstance and state of being. Today’s online statistics show that the most common profile of northern Nigeria trained or recruited terrorist/insurgent or bandit including kidnappers do not have higher than secondary school education; often young and jobless or a labourer, shoe-shiner, petty trader, uneducated-seasonal labourers in the cities etc., by occupation; and who became a bandit-terrorist, kidnapper etc., as a result of despair, being unemployed or stripped of his means of livelihood and ways of life, someone who has lost hope and vulnerable. This type of information is useful to security forces and also to the government, which can consider taking steps to reduce unemployment while providing equal opportunities and access, as an anti-terrorism measure.

Why Nigeria is the Hottest-Spot for Terrorism in Africa

In 2007 when the first edition of this book was published, reasons were given why Nigeria maybe the hot-spot for terrorism in West Africa, today, in late 2020, reasons are given why Nigeria is the hottest-spot for terrorism in Africa. If the government had addressed the issues highlighted, the problems of terrorism and other protracted crises could have been averted today. The increases in armed militias (terrorists, insurgents, kidnappers, armed robbers, bandits etc.,) and also the increased numbers of firearms owned by these groups generally in all part of the country or easy access to them have turned Nigeria into the hottest-spot theatre for terrorism in Africa; and other protracted crises.

In the service of various ideologies and aspirations, terrorism sometimes supplants other forms of the conflict completely. Nigeria, once again, is a Nation at a cross-road, breeding a culture of violence that has spread-out to virtually almost all communities in both northern and southern regions. Religious and ethnic divisions coupled with state corruption and severe poverty in parts of the citizens; and despair provided fertile grounds for terrorist and other groups to form. Terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS were exploring new ways to bypass the daunting maze of deterrents, already in place, seeking to entrench and spread where there is severe poverty, ignorance, despair and hopelessness. With institutional weaknesses that allow terrorists to operate freely and non-coherent and effective ways to address its menace, the so-called terrorist partnerships of convenience flourish: illicit drug trafficking, armed robbery and other organized crime include nuclear arms proliferation. Rampant violence, kidnappings and banditry all over are direct effects of frustration coupled with the poor access to basic social services, gross inequality of wealth and government neglect in the country, which have created a vacuum for those militants to exploit. Also, the lack of recreational centers or sporting activities creates boredom and hence influences some to carry out all sorts of violent activities.

Like during the already discussed Maitatsine religious uprising in the north, later confessed that they were easily recruited and trained because they were bored, jobless with no hope; and had no other ways of recreation other than the day to day routine they were accustomed to. Unfortunately, Niger Delta is also a non-recreational zone, with widespread poverty and dissent taking on a radical religious dimension including extreme local spiritual tradition. Poverty is a big factor in brainwashing youngsters, like the penetration across the border with Chad, the activities of the Sudanese, Syrian, and Palestinian representatives in Nigeria is cause for concern. More important, “scores of Pakistanis” have been arrested in the West African country and charged with inciting violence since September 11, 2001, and early in 2004 a rebellion by a group calling itself “Taliban” broke out in Yobe state, on the northern frontier of Nigeria. Maitatsine, who preached that western education is forbidden (Boko, Haram also) pursued perceived goals of a Muslim religion saviour-figure is nothing short of egotistic terrorism but was able to attract massive recruits due largely to lack of education in the religion of Islam by these recruits but largely due to frustration, ignorance, boredom coupled with their worsening of the economic situation, despair and hopelessness.

These situations have rapidly and surely manifested themselves both in so many parts of northern Nigeria, like the resurgence of Boko Haram sectarian group, led by Abubakar Shekarau in Maiduguri, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Kano states, to launch an attack on the government and citizens of these States. Although such a portrait of the Nigerian situation may seem sensationalized, it is clear that as the dominant power in the entire African region, the country will remain a major focus of extremism attention. Nigeria is also characterized by the polarization of Muslims against Christians, one tribal group against another, class intolerance and political rivalry, joblessness and despair. In these conditions, Nigerians and indeed Nigeria must be considered a country at serious risk of becoming a major new front for terrorism especially those that want to use those conditions for their selfish ends. An example is the attempted bombing on December 25, 2009, of the airline en route to Detroit by Faruk Umar Abdulmutallab who was radicalized by the Yemenis. After the Maitatsine religious riots of the 1980s, there have been more than 20 cases of ethnoreligious conflagration in Nigeria resulting in more than 10,000 deaths and the destruction of properties worth billions of Naira.

Another often mentioned and instinctively convincing reason is the ever-continuing economic crises and extreme poverty afflicting the majority of the population of the world, especially the third world countries, which daily creates the gravest imaginable and most disgraceful human suffering. This is a breeding ground for discontent and intolerance from which terrorism can spring, especially as terrorist groups exploit these extreme forms of human suffering, ignorance, despair and poverty to spread their doctrine and recruit members. Some of these conditions, unfortunately, exist more than ever in Nigeria today, especially in the north and in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Already, the United Nations (UN) has published reports of the formation of terrorists - drug traffickers’ nexus in Africa; and with al-Qaeda and ISIS under increased international pressure in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, as well as pressure on other terrorist groups around the world, Nigeria offers an ideal regrouping, recruiting and re-launching zone. The government, in a concerted effort, must put pre-emptive measures against these terrorist groups from operating by critically addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, while promoting the rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms: democratic values, good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness to offer a viable alternative to those who could be susceptible to terrorist recruitment and radicalization leading to violence and terror acts

The Maitatsine Crisis

Instructively, the history of terrorism and religious fanaticism in Nigeria could be traced from the Maitatsine riots of the early eighties. With an ideology that was opposed to most aspects of modernization and all western influence. The sect also decried such technological commonplace as radios, TV, wristwatches, automobiles, motorcycles, and even bicycles. Those who use these things or who read books other than the Qur’an were viewed as unbelievers. The group unleashed acts of terrorism and riots against the people who were largely Muslims and the State. The riots were a series of violent uprisings instigated by Islamist militants between 1980 and 1985 and represented northern Nigeria’s first major wave of religiously-inspired violence. The riots prompted immense ethnoreligious conflict between Muslims and Christians in years to come, as some of the victims during the riots were also Christians.

The Maitatsine movement was led by Malam Muhammadu Marwa, alias Allah Tatsine or Maitatsine, a Cameroonian residing in Kano who opposed the Nigerian state (Maitatsine is a Hausa term for “He who is damned,” referring to Maitatsine). Marwa Maitatsine was originally from Marwa in northern Cameroon. After his education, he moved to Kano, Nigeria in about 1945, where he became known for his controversial preaching on the Qur'an. His dissent was disliked by the government, and he was exiled to Cameroon in the early 1960s. He returned to Kano and by 1972 he had a notable and increasingly militaristic following. In 1975 he was again arrested by the Nigerian police for slander and public abuse of political authorities. As his following increased in the 1970s, so did the number of confrontations between his adherents and the police. His preaching attracted largely a following of youths, unemployed migrants, and those who felt hopeless, not doing anything in their communities. He referred to himself as a prophet - to the extent that one account reports that some of his followers referred to Marwa instead of the Prophet Muhammad as God’s prophet - and a reformer (mujaddid), concerning Usman Dan Fodio. He was also notable for his vociferous condemnation of western culture, education, and technology, and Maitatsine was known to refer to anyone who sent their children to a state school as an “infidel,” which is echoed in the contemporary Boko Haram movement. At that period, unemployment soared, the crime rate increased, poverty was not abating, people were disgruntled and the citizens were already tired of the fumbling and corrupt politicians. It was at that time that Maitatsine decided to launch his movement. His message was simple but brutally efficient: to oppose the government and even orthodox Islam itself. He had transformed himself into another creature, one that would terrorize the world’s most populous black nation.

The first Maitasine violence in Kano shocked many Nigerians to their marrow. In that crisis, 4,177 lives were lost. The Kano incident stands out for being the first religious crisis that took a huge toll on human lives and property where Muslims killed Muslims, plus anyone that stand in the way including Christians. Maitatsine’s followers were young, poor men, particularly former seasonal labourers economically displaced by the oil boom as well as petty merchants and youths (Almajiri) seeking an Islamic education in Kano. Before the oil boom, the urban poor were regarded as worthy recipients of Islamic charity; against the backdrop of economic changes, which included inflation and the destruction of the petty mercantile economy, they were looked at as hooligans and thieves. Thus, the socially and economically marginalized were receptive to the sect’s anti-government message and exclusivist religious outlook. The riot that broke out on December 18, 1980, was during President Shehu Shagari, the first civilian executive President of Nigeria, in Kano and resulted in more than 4,000 deaths (including the Maitatsine himself). Numerous other riots took place between 1980 and 1985, killing or injuring thousands of northern Muslims and Christians. At first, Maitatsine was ignored by Nigeria’s political leaders, but as his sermons became increasingly antigovernment; that was when the government cracked down. During the crackdown, the city descended into what scholar Elizabeth Isichei described as “virtually civil war.” Identifying many of the corpses was not easy. Their eyes, noses, ears and tongue were removed. They were deliberately mutilated by their angry attackers. The December 1980 death of Maitatsine in the hands of the military marked the end of the sect but the movement, however, lived on. Maitatsine’s followers rose against the government again in 1982 in Bulumkutu and 3,300 people were killed. Two years later, Maitatsine’s followers rose around Gongola State in violence that killed nearly 1,000 people. Hundreds more were killed a year later in a rising in Bauchi, Jos and Kaduna States between 1982 and 1984.

In Nigeria, especially after the 1960 independence, both Islam and Christianity followers have displayed extreme behaviour; and both religions play a very vital and influential role in the society that has manifested itself as a potent force in the political development of the country from pre-independence to post-independence. Because today’s Boko Haram’s activities have claimed the lives of over 3,000 Nigerians since 2009 and counting, one will appreciate the scope and degree of violence of the 1980s red-faced sect that killed so many Nigerians in just 12 days. Maitatsine becomes a terror with 6,000 followers ready to march to the death on the vehement orders of their much-revered spiritual leader. As these sects (Maitatsine and Boko Haram) share things in common, imagine what will happen if they are not completely defeated, thus (Boko Haram) remains arguably the biggest threat confronting Nigeria today.

The Boko Haram Crisis

Terrorism wars and in the case of Nigeria, domesticated as Boko Haram insurgency or Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) allies are not easy, but they have had their globally publicized dream to conquer Nigeria. The agenda of Boko Haram, their sponsors and other conspirators are to completely overrun Nigeria but the Army under the leadership of Gen. Buratai continues to engage them. These aggressor-terror sects came close to achieving this goal up to the first quarter of 2015 when they captured many local government areas in Born state. Boko Haram is a radical Islamist movement, which means “Western education is forbidden”, the Islamic State in West Africa or the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (abbreviated as ISWA or ISWAP formerly known as Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad (meaning “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”), and commonly known as Boko-Haram was founded in 2002 by an Islamist cleric named Mohammed Yusuf in response to Nigeria’s democratic transition, nationalism and western influence.

Until March 2015, it is a jihadist terrorist organization based in the northeast, also active in Chad, Niger Republic, and northern Cameroon. The group clawed it is way back from a failed uprising in July 2009 against the government leaving more than 1,000 dead, including the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf who was executed, to re-emerge as a full-fledged insurgency later declared a terrorist group, under the command of one of Yusuf’s lieutenants, Abubakar Shekau, a year later. Shekau was reported to have been “fatally wounded” during an airstrike in Taye village on 19 August 2016 by the Nigerian Air Force which also killed some senior leaders of Boko Haram. Since the early 2010s, the jihadist armed group wielded power and influence in the region and parts of adjoining states in the Lake Chad Basin. According to the Center for Counter-Terrorism and Preventive Diplomacy, over the next five years, and at an unusually rapid pace between 2013 and 2015, the group seized control of much of Nigeria’s Borno state and began operating in border areas of neighbouring Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon. They plundered villages and bombed markets and churches, as well as mosques it deemed “infidel.” In April 2014 it staged the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state. This mass abduction, which earned it global condemnation, was only one in a long series of violent incidents of striking brutality. 

The Nigerian context has shaped Boko Haram into what it has become. Nigerian political life is based on patronage-clientele networks, and religious and ethnic loyalties supersede those to the nation. A religious ethos saturates all aspects of the Nigerian public and private life, whether Christian or Muslim. Moreover, the cooperating and competing elites that run Nigeria exploit religious sentiments for their purposes, while individuals and groups protesting against these elites also draw on religion to promote their vision for Nigeria.

Boko Haram remains arguably the biggest threat confronting Nigeria today, with consequences going beyond security into the political and socio-economic aspects of governance. This Islamist group has killed at least 3,500 people since 2009 when it first launched its Islamic insurgency to wrest power from the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state under the supreme law of sharia. There is no doubt that the ideology, method of operation and effects of Maitatsine and Boko Haram insurgencies are similar only that the magnitude and quantity of the loss of lives and properties differ because of the possession of modern warfare by Boko Haram. Thus, terrorism in the region can be eliminated by identifying the root causes, and accordingly, using military and non-military means.

It was on the night of 14-15 April 2014, that 276 mostly Christian female students were kidnapped from the Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram. 57 of the schoolgirls were rescued by the Nigeria Army the next few months and some have described their capture in appearances at international human rights conferences. A child born to one of the girls and believed by medical personnel to be about 20 months old also was released, according to the Nigerian president's office. Since then hopes were raised on various occasions that the 219 remaining girls might be released. Newspaper reports suggested that Boko Haram was hoping to use the girls as negotiating pawns in exchange for some of their commanders in jail. In May 2016, one of the missing girls, Amina Ali, was found. She claimed that the remaining girls were still there, but that six had died. A further 21 girls were freed in October 2016, while another was rescued the next month.

Another was found in January 2017. 82 more girls were freed in May 2017. One of the girls was rescued in January 2018. Since 2014, Chibok has hosted hundreds of journalists, activists, security operatives and government delegations. Most of the advocacy groups that pleaded for the release of the girls have however gone quiet. Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) has kept the campaign going, but the group has become smaller, seemingly having lost its punch. “It is quite challenging to sustain a singular core demand – #BringBackOurGirls – when facing a government that has taken up a disinterested and hostile stance for almost five years,” the spokesperson of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Nifemi Onifade, told Al-Jazeera. “The drain of standing for the Chibok girls is real and heavy and so, many may have had various reasons over the years for their reduced commitments,” added one of the organizers that is why in recent years, the Nigerian government has come under immense criticism for doing very little to free the Chibok girls despite President Muhammadu Buhari promised to crush Boko Haram during his first term election campaign in 2015.

This sudden rise of religious fundamentalism (Boko Haram) is not unconnected with the “Settlement of 1960”, in which Muslims traded away the right to impose Sharia law across the board, because around the time of Maitatsine’s movement, Philip Ostien and Sati Fwatshak wrote in their book on Sharia in Nigeria, “…by the mid-1980s the idea that Muslims consent to the Settlement of 1960 had been a terrible mistake… was widespread and firmly entrenched in the North” as illustrated by Capt. John Ford, US Army. Although later the 1999 Constitution has re-opened the door to impose Sharia by granting significant power to Nigeria’s States and created a system of appellate courts to hear appeals from Sharia trial courts, some northern states took the opportunity to impose relaxed Sharia law over their territory. This relaxed Sharia law prompted some groups to start opposing certain laws in a non-violent way, and some violently like during the Maitatsine’s movement and more recently with the likes of ISWAP, Boko-Haram, which says that people should not expose themselves to modernity and western education, living in denial.

As its name suggests, ISWAP is affiliated with the Islamic State, or ISIS, caliphate in Iraq and Syria, whose remnants count ISWAP victories as their victory. Boko-Haram appears to be working hard to gain enormous favour from its namesake organization, and it has obtained some support already, both from al-Qaeda and ISIS notably in the form of training and otherwise. This is when the sect leaders began manifesting their groups in violent uprisings that are being witnessed today. Unfortunately, there are currently so many more such groups gradually emerging led by extreme individuals in the country. 

As the war on al-Qaeda by the USA intensified after Sept 11, al-Qaeda was on the run but also began exploring new ways to bypass the daunting maze of deterrents already in place. They sought to entrench and spread where there is poverty, ignorance, and despair. Polarization and social exclusion increase a sense of alienation, which in turn may breed violent radicalization to violence and terrorism especially where the government is generally oblivious to the bad economic situations of the people and its failure to act to address them. This they found in Africa: Northern Nigeria, Somali, etc.; a potential terrorist breeding ground especially with institutional weaknesses that allow terrorists to operate freely, with non-coherent and effective ways to forecast or address their menace. The Libyan crisis also fuelled the so-called terrorist partnership of convenience, flourished illicit drugs, training on the use of explosives and arms supply in Nigeria to groups like the ISWAP, that started as non-violent and turning violent; all under the watch of the state. Such religious threat to the region has existed for decades, right from Maitatsine; unfortunately, it has taken, as mentioned earlier the kidnapping of nearly 300 Chibok school girls to get the international community to take notice.

As mentioned, the immediate objective of Boko Haram is to establish strict sharia law in northern Nigeria, where the majority of the population is Muslim. Although twelve out of nineteen northern states have implemented sharia governance, Boko Haram believes it is too lenient and violates Islam. Islamist extremists hold that Muslims are required to wage jihad until all territories are under Islamic rule. Boko Haram regards itself as the successor to Usman Dan Fodio who founded the Sokoto Caliphate, which ruled parts of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon from 1804 until it was formally abolished by the British in 1904. Boko Haram regards the current Sultan of Sokoto, who has a traditional religious and tribal role, as un-Islamic as he cooperates with the Nigerian government. Boko Haram wants to concentrate all religious authority in their own hands, pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda and ISIS. According to the al-Qaeda Reader, Osama Bin Laden once said, “In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the land of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practise that contradicts the sharia from being publicly voiced among the people, as was the case at the dawn of Islam.”

In November 2012, Abubakar Shekau declared, “O America, die with your fury” and he pledged to fight “the Jews and the Crusader Christians.” As the Long War Journal summarizes, he said he and his fighters support jihad in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Algeria, Libya and Mali.  In November 2013, the U.S. State Department said Boko Haram has links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. 2011 Congressional report said members have been trained by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and that it also has links to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, al-Shabaab. However, in March 2015, Boko Haram’s leader Abu Bakr Shekau pledged also allegiance to the Islamic State, ISIS in an audio message. The pledge does not mean that the two groups are now operating as one unit but provided increased legitimacy to the Islamic State’s claim to be the only legitimate jihadist group (and the rulers of all the Muslims). It is thought that Boko Haram pledged to be on the winning side in the conflict between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and also to attract legitimacy in Nigeria and foreign recruits for its army. Boko Haram follows a doctrine of unrestrained warfare, making no distinction between non-combatants and combatants; civilians and soldiers; females and males, or even Muslims and non-Muslims. Boko Haram has killed about 3,000 people since 2009. Links between Boko Haram and other Islamist groups could further intensify regional security concerns. After the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March 2015, the United States boosted its military assistance and deployed three hundred troops to Nigeria to help in the fight against Boko Haram. As the largest African oil producer, the stability of Nigeria is important to regional security and U.S. economic interests.

The US war veteran, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, echoed that; “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others….”But since Gen. Buratai assumed the mantle of leadership of the counter-insurgency operations in the country, leaders representing millions of people worldwide, have noted his smothering fires on Boko Haram over the years. A former US Secretary of States, Mr. Rex Tillerson, at the meeting of  ‘Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS’ comprising 68 countries, held in Washington, D.C, implored other nations to emulate Nigeria thus - “But let me be clear: we must fight ISIS online as aggressively as we would on the ground.” “But beyond exalting strong and incomparable influences on blighting Boko Haram/ISWAP, Gen. Buratai’s a little less than five years leadership of the Nigerian Army has brought awesome structural innovations into the Army institution in Nigeria”.

Funding for Boko Haram: The Islamist terror group’s recent attacks in Nigeria are notable for the expensive military hardware on display. Despite the poverty of northern Nigeria, where 70 percent of people live on less than $1 a day, Boko Haram terrorist group has at its disposal a seemingly limitless amount of heavy weaponry, vehicles, bombs and ammunition that it uses to kill with unfathomable wantonness. Terrence McCoy reports on the sources of this money, from wealthy Middle Eastern backers to the black market. Osama Bin Laden invested1 $3 million in northern Nigeria, to promote his brand of Salafist Islamism. EJ Hogendoorn, the International Crisis Group’s deputy programme director for Africa and an author of the report, told The Daily Beast: “What I can tell you from talking to lots of conservative Muslims in Nigeria is that there was a lot of money coming into northern Nigeria. There are many sources of that money. “One of those sources was from al-Qaeda.” Bin Laden also endorsed an Islamist revolution to topple the Nigerian government and establish a sharia-based state. Yusuf had an estimated 280,000 followers and his armed supporters were referred to as the Nigerian Taliban and dozens trained in Afghanistan. Yusuf was killed in 2009 and replaced by its current leader, Abubakar Shekau. In November 2013, the U.S. State Department designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, as well as a splinter group named Ansaru. The U.S. government said Boko Haram has links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and is responsible for killing thousands of people.

The Islamic militants, masquerading as members of the military, raided three villages in north-eastern Nigeria and killed 400 villagers “from house to house” using “sophisticated weapons”, one local leader told Bloomberg. Dozens more Boko Haram members arrived at another village, Bargari, disguised as preachers and assembled all those living in the village, ostensibly to teach Islam. Once they had gathered, another “large number of terrorists” arrived and “opened fire on the congregation”, one resident told Nigeria’s Daily Post. “The gunmen numbering 20 ambushed the village with four Toyota Hilux vehicles, AK-47 rifles, improvised explosive devices, and petrol bombs,” the paper said. The Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, the US military academy, said: “Kidnapping for ransoms has become one of [Boko Haram’s] primary funding sources, a way to extract concessions from the Nigerian state and other governments and a threat to foreigners and Nigerian government officials.” Experts now estimate that kidnapping is worth “millions of dollars in ransom money” to the militants.

Other local funding for Boko Haram and other radical groups comes from bank robberies, the theft of weapons from government armouries, and especially in the case of criminal groups smuggling. Remittances from overseas also play a role example from ISIS, al-Qaeda. Terrorism in northern Nigeria is cheap. Explosives – and knowledge about them – are widespread, not least because of the influx of such from enamouring countries. Vehicles used for suicide attacks and car bombs are usually stolen. A large number of weapons in radical hands that come from government armouries implies that radical Islamic groups have infiltrated the military and other institutions of government, as senior military officials and even President Jonathan have acknowledged. Despite denials, it is alleged that the government paid a considerable amount of money for the release of some of the Chibok schoolgirls.  Furthermore, Boko Haram generates funds from bank raids.  In 2011 alone, Boko Haram raided almost 100 branches of banks and carted away several million.  In 2012, the monies Boko Haram looted from banks totalled about N500 million.  Apart from banks, Boko Haram also mounts roadblocks, especially on market days to rob traders of their money and food items. 

The group has also relied on cattle rustling for food and sale through middle-men in the Gamboru cattle market. The funds from the various sources enable the sect to procure arms and also to fund their logistics and operations.  Apart from the locally produced weapons such as IEDs and petrol-bombs, Boko Haram also imports other munitions, including AK-47 rifles allegedly from post-Gadhafi Libya plus other sources through Nigerian porous borders. From the preceding, several critical steps need to be taken to deny Boko Haram of fiscal resources. What experts agree on is that one of the best ways to stall Boko Haram is to cut off it is funding. But how to do that remains unclear. The group is an entrenched part of life in northern Nigeria, possessing control and influence, and even collecting taxes, but the group must be denied the critical financial resources that it needs to sustain its operations.  The government must cut off this line to suffocate the terrorists.

As can be seen, the terrorist attack of Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is terrible; and at the moment there are no current and credible public estimates of Boko Haram’s current membership. Shekau leads the group with an iron fist, killing rivals and not permitting other commanders to get publicity by appearing in his videos. He employs different tactics in attacking civilians and even government official, he has used a donkey strapped with explosives to ambush the convoy of the governor of Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state. Governor Babagana Zulum was returning to the state capital, Maiduguri, from Baga town when they were ambushed. In terms of organization, it operates as a terrorist/guerrilla force, with units having between 300 and 500 fighters each. Boko Haram carries out acts of terrorism, but also tries to control territory and establish authority. The group has little public support in Nigeria. A 2013 Pew poll found that Boko Haram’s support among Muslims in Nigeria has decreased significantly from 2010 to today, with only two percent expressing a favourable opinion of it. About 83% expressed an unfavourable opinion. The remaining 15% did not have an opinion on the group.

Ansaru a splinter of Boko Haram: By origin, a splinter of Boko Haram, Ansaru’s base is in Kano and Kaduna. Its full name in English is “Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa”. Its leadership is obscure; Abu Usama al Ansari is frequently identified as its leader, but little other than his name is known. Its spokesmen claim the group split from Boko Haram because of the latter’s frequent killing of Muslims. Ansaru avoids Muslim casualties and instead actively attacks Christian churches and government officials. Ansaru has introduced tactics commonly associated with the Sahel and al-Qaeda that were previously unknown in West Africa, such as kidnappings and suicide bombers, including female suicide attackers. The group had links with radical Islamist groups in Algeria and Mali, but it is unlikely that it takes direction from them. However, its fighters include some individuals from outside Nigeria, especially Chad and Niger. There is evidence of tactical cooperation between Ansaru and Boko Haram, and they may have reunited. The Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping has the flavour of Ansaru, but Shekau claimed responsibility. Ansaru had issued no public statements for many months, which is another indication that it may have merged back into Boko Haram.

The Government’s Response to Boko Haram: The government’s response to Boko Haram is to see it as a terrorist movement in isolation from any environment that may have fostered it, and state security forces have reacted with violent repression. The government’s seemingly indiscriminate killing of alleged Boko Haram members and many others who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time appears to be a driver of popular support for or acquiescence to Boko Haram (Amnesty International, 2014). Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both criticized the Nigerian military for their tactics. Amnesty reported that some 600 people were killed by the military after an attack on Maiduguri's Giwa barracks in March. The sale of lethal weapons to Nigeria is prohibited by UK law because of such concerns. "Without the training, they won't be able to get the equipment, and we aren't giving them the training either," Mr. Hall said. The military has not dealt with the big problems it faces. Because of the military's human rights record, people do not trust them, plus they lack modern equipment, training and motivation. A UK military officer who has worked closely with the Nigerians says they are stuck in a Catch-22 situation.

Nigeria’s approach to Boko Haram has for several years been driven by a joint task force that, until August 2013 during President Goodluck Jonathan, when the army’s 7th division was established and put in charge of the counter-insurgency campaign, was leading the effort. A strong task force consisted of elements of the police, army, custom and prison services, but also of the intelligence services. This multi- or cross-departmental effort had many shortcomings, but on the positive side brought greater collaboration between intelligence and the other security and defence services. Following this switch from this joint task force with the 7th division of the army, there has been less cooperation or intelligence exchange within the Nigerian approach, though actions by the Nigerian military forces have seen some remarkable successes achieved in the early months of 2015.

During President Muhammadu Buhari, after 2015, Nigeria has also sought military support from its neighbours, who increasingly suffered attacks during Boko Haram’s upsurge. Since 2015, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger have deployed thousands of troops as part of a multinational force authorized by the African Union. The coalition has been credited with helping the Nigerian military retake much of the territory claimed by Boko Haram and reduce violence linked to the group to levels seen before 2014. According to Audrey Kurth Cronin, the average age of a terrorist group is about eight years. Her research demonstrates that there are six classic patterns of endings for a group. They are decapitation, negotiation, success, failure, repression and reorientation. These six patterns (which are sometimes combined) hold with them the best insights into which strategies succeed, which fail, and why. The best way to develop effective counterterrorism is to analyze which pattern fits a group and then take actions that help to bring about that end.

Boko Haram has killed over 30,000 people and displaced millions in the restive northeast region since its insurgency escalated in 2009. Overall, deaths from terrorism in Nigeria are now 83% lower than at their peak in 2014, according to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report published last week, but Boko Haram killings increased in 2019 over the previous year, and the Islamic sect was ranked as the second deadliest terrorist group globally in 2019 ahead of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and al-Shabaab, and only behind the Taliban. Nigeria remains the third most-affected by terrorism across the world, a position it first assumed in 2015 after dropping from second place. Federal lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives (NASS)  have in the past urged the president to sack the service chiefs for their underperformance in tackling insecurity in Nigeria. All the service chiefs have had their time in the civil service extended by Buhari well past the natural expiration period of 35 years in service and/or on reaching 60 years of age.

Although Nigeria's military has enjoyed a good reputation internationally because of its involvement in several peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Africa in general, it has not quite escaped the legacy of its past. "They cripple their militaries so that there can't be further coups." "If they give the impression that the military is in a very bad situation, they risk being branded incompetent, so they give a less bad picture to their bosses." Speaking to the press on 7 May 2019 in Abuja, Brigadier-General Olajide Laleye told journalists that the military was doing what they could to stop the insurgency. "Prosecuting large-scale counter-insurgency operations, as well as numerous other operations in aid of civil authority in virtually every state of the federation, has put pressure on the personnel and resources of the army," he said. President Buhari has recently announced a partnership with France to target Boko Haram, with a large focus on intelligence gathering. 

The question is that what is the appropriate response by the government and what should the people do? Some have argued that “ it is very depressing for everybody in this country today; killings everywhere and it calls for serious concerns by the leadership and the locals. The leadership is supposed to pay attention to what is happening while we the people only call the soldiers when it gets worse; insecurity is always local, Niger Delta issue is Niger Delta, Boko Haram is local, banditry is local. Unless we address local problems, soldiers cannot solve insecurity for us. Soldiers didn’t solve the insecurity problem in Niger Delta, soldiers will not solve Boko Haram problem, and they will not solve banditry, kidnapping problems, soldiers are just one part of the solution”. “We have to involve everybody and make them understand why you have this problem”.

The popular argument is that insecurity cannot be solved by the army, it is a local problem; soldiers are just there to put off the flame. The bottom-line is the discussion and mobilization of the whole nation about what the problems are, why they are happening in places like Zamfara, Katsina, Maiduguri and Kaduna for instance.

These terrorists, bandits and kidnappers are just disparate illiterates, not trained, never been to any school, and yet they are defeating a nation of trained army, police and more than 20 security agencies; all they have is rusty Ak-47. They come into villages on motorcycles from the forests; return to the forest when they are done. Nigerian soldiers and police will not enter or are afraid to enter those forests. What about the air force with all the air resources and capabilities. The fundamental problem also is the control of the forests. “If you don’t have control of your forests then you are just there waiting for them to come and catch you”. The government must have full control of its forests; just as they have Forest Rangers in East Africa, South Africa, Asia and even the United States, it is argued that government must develop forest rangers that are lightly armed to police the forests; “you have no business of living in the forests if you don’t have a license to live for example”. All our Fulani, Gwaris people living in the forests are supposed to be licensed, and there should be forest guards, rangers from local communities, but not from Abuja or faraway places. The government needs to employ the local community lightly armed to police the forests and to include the local civilian Joint Taskforce (JTF), this will go a long way. Those coming from Abuja are there to put out the fire, as the fire brigade and they will go back and leave the people. Look at the casualties of soldiers and officers killed. Not long ago, soldiers and officers were ambushed in Zamfara, and 18 were killed including a major in the Nigerian army, a captain and others. The same thing in Damboa, Borno State, the same thing in Katsina; they were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram.

Since the Boko Haram uprising in 2009, the Nigerian government has employed various strategies as counter-terrorism measures to stem the atrocities of the group. These strategies include amnesty negotiations, implementation of emergency law in the northeast, an increase in security spending to the deployment of military force. Amid these security measures, the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) emerged, first as a community effort, and later as a joint effort with the security forces to help fight Boko Haram. Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) are non-military personnel, mostly local people who have the courage and commitment to augment military efforts in the war against the dreaded terrorist group known as Boko Haram. The members of the civilian Joint Task Force are usually supported with fighting tools, vehicles and kits by the government and other non-governmental organizations. They contribute a lot to the war against Boko Haram through their zeal and patriotism.

The civilian Joint Task forces are driven by the selfless aim to defend their families, relatives and friends against insurgents. These people are fearless and ready to sacrifice their lives in defence of their families. The civilian JTF has helped recover towns and villages from Boko Haram rescued women in the northeast and helped identify Boko Haram members shielded by some local people. Although doubts have been expressed in some quarters that the civilian JTF could transform into ethnic militias, the Boko Haram security threat neutralized by the group indicates an untapped security potential in Nigerian communities. However, one approach that has yet to be pursued is the community security option. Community security option is a model built around proactive citizen-driven communal response. The recent massacre of innocent rice farmers in the Zabarmari community of Jere local government has no doubt affected every soul wanting an end to the Boko Haram menace. The members of the civilian Joint Taskforce (JTF) of Maiduguri in collaboration with soldiers of the Nigerian Army have stormed bushes around the outskirts of Borno state to hunt down members of the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram. Their patriotism is legendary. They left their families and loved ones in search of the terrorist group in the bush.

Insurgency, kidnappings or banditry does not survive without local support; local collaborators, local informants. The government intelligence needs to capitalize on this and use human intelligence to find out when an attack is coming, where and how; the source of the insurgents’ fund and logistics including arms, food-source etc., and most importantly their sponsors. Where or what are they doing with all the millions of money they are getting, a Fulani man in the forest doesn’t build a house, he doesn’t buy a house in Dubai or Abuja, he doesn’t buy cars, so where do they keep the money; what do they use the money for? They come into towns and villages on hundreds of motorcycles, where did they buy these motorcycles, where did they get the fuel to power these machines, where do they keep them, who are their informants, who buy the drugs, and whether their sponsors are local or international? All these are what intelligence agencies should find out using local intelligence.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations of the Nigerian Army, Col Sagir Mus, has alleged that Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria are being sponsored by the international community. He reportedly stated that Boko Haram attacks are being instigated by the international community who wants to “cut Nigeria to size” and that some international paymasters are sponsoring it. In an article published on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, following the tragic beheading of over 110 rice farmers in Borno State on November 28, 2020. “The recent killing of our people on a rice farm in Borno State was unexpected, inhuman, cowardly, dastardly and sadistic cruelty by the Boko Haram terrorists. There is no normal human being that will take pleasure in such an inhuman massacre of defenceless and armless civilians, working on their farms; but that is the nature of terrorism and those who sponsor it. There is an international conspiracy to cut Nigeria to size and compromise national renegades making attempts to destabilize and dismember Nigeria if possible in subservience to the international paymasters, who are the owners of Boko Haram. They train them, arm them, finance them and supply their logistics.” Musa alleged that Boko Haram would have been completely defeated if they were not financed by the international communities.

The International Response to Boko Haram: The U.S. and British governments designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as terrorist organizations in 2013, while the United Nations designated Boko Haram an al-Qaeda affiliate in 2014. In the aftermath of the Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping, several Western countries offered to help Nigeria find and liberate the captives.7 However, the government has done little to take advantage of these offers. Moreover, credible reports of human rights abuses by the Nigerian security forces create difficulties for outside involvement by democratic states committed to furthering human rights.

Security partners beyond Africa have also come to Nigeria’s aid. The United States designated Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization in late 2013, but at times Washington has withheld military assistance out of concern over Nigeria’s counterterrorism strategy and alleged human rights abuses. Following the abductions in Chibok, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States pledged additional assistance, including equipment and intelligence support. U.S. assistance related to Boko Haram totalled more than $400 million by early 2016. In early 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump pushed through a roughly $600 million deal to sell a dozen Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria to support its counterterrorism efforts. For its part, the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions and an arms embargo on the insurgent group in 2014. Analysts said the move was largely symbolic, as the financial assets and movements of Boko Haram militants are difficult to track.

Dec 3, 2020: Days after North-East Governors urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use mercenaries to fight Boko Haram; the foreign military contractors earlier engaged by Nigeria have vowed never to return. The fighters took the battle to terrorists in Sambisa forest and other enclaves during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Then, Nigeria covertly brought in ‘military-technical advisers’ regarded as mercenaries from South Africa and the former Soviet Union. Ahead of the 2015 general election, the hitmen day and night dealt Boko Haram severe blows. Regional security, defence and diplomatic sources were aware of the development.

There was also a tacit confirmation by Jonathan that two companies were providing “trainers and technical support” to help Nigerian forces. Now, calls for the warriors to return, amid the upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram and ISWAP, are being made.

Speaking to PRNigeria, one of the facilitators of ‘soldiers of fortune’ decried the persecution and prosecution of foreigners and Nigerian counterparts who participated in the war after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office. He said: “In fact, some of our covert operations and activities of operatives in Nigeria including incurred casualties were exposed as working for mercenaries. Imagine that even highly classified and coded transactions for operational purposes were exposed as corruption.” The source disclosed that some payments for operations executed are still outstanding. “It’s easier to confirm what we did because we were able to recover dozens of towns from Boko Haram from at least three states in the North-East at the time. This is an open secret.” He expressed disappointment that some Nigerian military and intelligence officers who participated in the 2014/2015 operation were retired, prosecuted and convicted. The senior contractor stated that the mercenaries find it difficult to work in a country where their operations, strategy and thinking are exposed to the media and judicial processes. The secret agent hinted that top government officials at federal and state levels are reaching out to them, but reiterated their resolve not to come back. DAILY POST reported that the founder of Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection (STTEP), Eeben Barlow, revealed that Buhari stopped their raids against insurgents. Barlow said their proposal was antagonized and politicized by Buhari and his team “even before they assumed office.” “The initial 3-phase campaign strategy (known as Operational Anvil) to degrade and destroy Boko Haram in Borno State was rejected by his advisors,” he added.

The Political Context: To manage ethnic, regional and religious divisions, at the end of military rule in 1998 the competing and cooperating elites in the ruling People’s Democratic Party established a pattern of alternating the presidency between the predominantly Muslim north and the mostly Christian south. This system was essentially dismantled in 2011 when southern Christian Goodluck Jonathan successfully won the presidential campaign for re-election – with the support or acquiescence of some of the northern Islamic establishment, who were probably bribed. Jonathan’s failure to replace the system of alternate Christian and Muslim presidents with a new balancing structure during a period of accelerating political appeals to ethnic and religious identities has been an important driver of perceived northern marginalization and a catalyst for the current wave of conflicts there. Unemployment is compounded with escalating ethnic tension and increased government corruption. On the streets the traditional Islamic establishment is seen as having sold out to secularism, making room for Boko Haram and other crises. With coming to power by Muhammadu Buhari after 2015, the issue of insecurity already has dominated the discourse in Nigeria. In some quarters it has been stated that the security situation in the country had degenerated and that Nigeria is tilting towards a failed state. This school of thought lent their argument on the perceived crisis in North-East Nigeria with the Boko Haram Insurgency, as well as the criminal activities of bandits, kidnappings and other criminal gangs in north-east, North West and some parts of North Central and Nigeria as a whole. While it is within the rights of these individuals and groups to bear their minds of burning national issues, however, such must be expressed within the ambit of reasonability and decorum and to understand the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in the war against insurgency in Nigeria and other forms of criminalities. The Boko Haram insurgents indeed demystified all that the Nigerian Army was known for in terms of professionalism.

Security is the state of being free from danger when one has no iota of fear of losing one’s life, right and property in society. Security guarantees peace of mind, job opportunities and encourage investors; therefore, every society that lost security has lost those three things mentioned. Food security is one of the objectives touted by the Buhari administration and Northern Nigeria’s main pride is farming. But today, many farmers in vast sections of Northern Nigeria are afraid of going to their farmlands, for the fear of losing their lives.

Today, the North has the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Inspector General of Police, Minister of Defense, Director General, Department of State Security and National Intelligence Agency, and above all, the President! A region with a combination of such top security captains couldn’t stop the bloodshed in their region; how can they be expected to protect the whole country?

Northern Elders’ call for Buhari’s Resignation: The United Nations has stated that over 110 farmers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday, 28 Nov 2020 night in Zabarmari village, a rice farming community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State. The massacre has led to widespread condemnation of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government's efforts towards eradicating the terrorist group. A statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria said many were also wounded in the ‘ruthless’ attack. “I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack.

BBC also reported that more than 43 people have been killed in what the Nigerian President described as an "insane". President Muhammadu Buhari described "the terrorist killings as insane", according to his spokesman Garba Shehu, saying further that "I condemn the killing of our hard-working farmers by terrorists in Borno state. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace," said President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, following what they described as the president’s inability to protect Nigerians. The forum stated this on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020, in Kaduna, in a statement by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed. The massacre prompted the Northern elders to react, saying “life has no value under the present administration”.  Dr. Baba-Ahmed also said that President Buhari lacks the political will to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling, and kidnapping. Referring to the Zabarmari incident, the forum said it regretted that Mr. Buhari had failed to listen to concerns from many Nigerians about the level of insecurity in the nation. The NEF also lamented that the killings had been greeted by “most insensitive response” by spokespersons of the President and described as a lame excuse that murdered farmers did not seek permission from the military to harvest their produce. “These killings and the reality they expose will make relocation of citizens and resumption of economic activities a lot more difficult to achieve even for leadership that attaches priority to them, and this administration does not.” While warning of imminent famine in the face of limited production of food in the region, Dr. Baba-Ahmed said many farming communities have not been allowed by bandits and kidnappers to plant crops. “Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals.” “We do not see any evidence of willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians.” “In civilized nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign,” he said.

On Wednesday 21 Oct 2020 gunmen stormed a village in Zamfara killing 20 people in the latest attack by criminal gangs in the violence-wracked region, police said. Violence in Zamfara that began more than a decade ago with armed robbery and cattle rustling has spiralled into clashes over land and resources between ethnic Fulani herders and local farmers with a gang of motorcycle-riding gunmen (bandits) shot residents in Tungar Kwana in Zamfara state on Wednesday, police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said. In November 2020, Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State was also raided by armed bandits and killed no fewer than 40 people, mostly old people, women and children. The same month saw no fewer than 81 civilians killed and scores injured when suspected members of the Boko Haram sect invaded Zowo village, 34km away from Gubio town and the headquarters of Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State. And now this 110 killed in “a most violent direct attack against innocent civilians”. The bodies of 43 farmers were recovered after the massacre, with around 30 of them being beheaded. “Several women” have also been kidnapped by the militants, with UN Resident Coordinator, Kallon calling for their safe and swift release. The burial ceremony for the 43 victims took place in Zabarmari village on Sunday was attended by hundreds of mourners and Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum.

Other prominent Nigerians have been speaking up against the mounting insecurity across the country - the leader of Nigerian Muslims and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, has added his voice to the calls - The Sultan charged the authorities to ensure the issue of banditry and kidnappings are addressed while condemning the incessant abductions and killings by bandits and terrorism in northern Nigeria. The Sultan, who is the leader of Nigerian Muslims under his position as the president-general of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, spoke on #SecureNorth at the 4th quarter 2020 meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council in Abuja. According to him, the bandits are so daring that they now go into houses to kidnap people. He further stated that both the Nigerian and state governments must wake up to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians. In a statement by the Secretary-General of JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said, “wanton killings, acts of banditry, rape, kidnapping for ransom, terrorism are as a result of the high rate of unemployment amongst the youths. The Sultan of Sokoto urged the authorities to address the issue before it degenerates into an uncontrollable situation. “We are so insecure in the north. Bandits now go into houses to kidnap.” He lamented that “how much onion costs in Nigeria today is an insight into the current economic hardship in the country. “We do not lack recommendations and solutions to our problems. What we lack is a sense of purpose.”

Some other northerners are calling for a reorganization of Nigeria's security architecture in ways that will bring an end to insecurity - A group identified as the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) took a swipe at the current administration, saying it has failed Nigerians, “we wasted our votes on Buhari in 2015, 2019” said the spokesman of the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman. The rise in banditry, killings and other crimes has forced the CNG to convene a security review to consider “regulated self-protection”. According to the group, President Muhammadu Buhari-led's administration has “failed” in protecting the lives and properties of citizens. “The truth is, these incidents are constant all over the North which is today virtually a battlefront, and a hostage of Boko Haram; and in the light of the current general and pervasive insecurity being felt across the north with the regularity of attacks, killings, kidnapping, insurgency, rustlers and rapists, highway robberies and the sacking of entire communities and the realization that leaders such as the ones we have, who cannot be advised or criticized, are a liability, have increased our conviction that the only remaining option is for the people to mobilize for a regulated self-protection."

There's an adage that says "when the goat finishes eating yams planted by the roadside, it will go into the farm". “If you and other high-placed chieftains had condemned insecurity in the north in strong voice and mean it, it would have been a thing of the past.” “If Mr. President and his security team cannot protect the north where he hails from, who are we to complain in the southwest and other regions?”

Days after Boko Haram terrorists slaughtered 110 rice farmers in Borno State, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, says insurgency could continue in Nigeria for 20 more years. Despite the public condemnation of his underperformance, Buratai said in a Facebook post on December 1, 2020, that there's a general misunderstanding of insurgency in the country "There is the likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years. "It only depends on the level of escalation and the appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities; "also by both local and international actors.

The Federal Government reacted to the critics’ call for President’s resignation that President Muhammadu Buhari won’t resign over Saturday’s killing of some farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram. “Their calls were cheap, irresponsible and amounted to playing politics with security”, Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed said. Mohammed claimed that Boko Haram shared the video claiming responsibility for the attack to instill fear in the people and to remain relevant in the eyes of its sponsors. He said there was no truth to the reason for the sect’s action, and urged the public for information that could lead to the end of the war on terror.

Policy Recommendation:

  • Firstly, friends of Nigeria should adhere to the principle of “not harm”. Assistance to the Abuja government should be undertaken only following wide consultation with Nigerians, both in and outside government. These friends should resist the temptation to “just do something”, especially in the aftermath of a horrific Boko Haram atrocity. Any action outsiders take should be informed by knowledge of and sensitivity to the religious dimension of the current Nigerian crisis. Any outside intervention in Nigeria’s north will be perceived by the Muslim majority in religious terms, i.e. as an attack on Islam.

  • Secondly, there should be a focus on humanitarian assistance directed toward meeting the basic human needs of the millions of people who have been internally displaced by the struggle between Boko Haram and the state. Such assistance should also be made available to Nigeria’s neighbours, which are hosting thousands of refugees (BBC, 2014).

  • Thirdly, Western governments should not be silent in the face of official human rights violations. Silence only undercuts the efforts of Nigerian human rights activists. The principle must be that sovereign states that aspire to be democratic should always be held to a higher standard than terrorist groups. It is already widely assumed in West Africa that the West is “at war” with Islam. The Western response to Boko Haram and the wider Nigerian crisis will demand greater Western sensitivity to and understanding of the religious dimension to the crisis in West Africa in general and Boko Haram in particular.

The economic impact of Boko Haram activities in the North-East is estimated at $9bn (N274.5bn). The loss of agricultural production in the North East caused by Boko Haram activities is estimated at $3.5bn (N107bn). With an increase in their attacks and the displacement of nearly two million Nigerians, agricultural production has plummeted, and staple food prices have sky-rocketed. “Northeast Nigeria now faces one of the world’s worst food security crises, with around 3.8 million people who will face critical food insecurity and approximately 7.7 million in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance this year alone. Hunger is ravaging the land. Worse, there is no end in sight as the latest forecast by the Food and Agriculture Organisation strongly projects that Nigeria’s efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030 are being seriously undermined. At the 2018 World Food Day, the Rome-based agency warned of the dangers ahead, citing the conflicts plaguing the country. The Boko Haram conflict is driving away farmers from their homes in the North-East, while the fear of being killed or kidnapped is driving away from people from their farms in another part of the North-West and North-Central. All this leaves Nigeria in a desperate situation” according to the report. Though Nigerians remain optimistic for where there is a will, there is a way, they insisted.

Some Example of Riots between Christians and Muslims:

  • February 21-May 23, 2000 Kaduna riots - between 1,000 and 5,000 people are killed in sectarian rioting between Christians and Muslims in Kaduna following the introduction of Sharia law into that state;

  • September 7-17,  2001 Jos riots - nearly 1,000 people are killed following sectarian rioting between Christians and Muslims in Jos, Plateau State.[citation needed]

  • November 20–23 - Miss World riots - around 250 are killed during rioting by Islamists across northern Nigeria as a response to an article deemed blasphemous.

Some Timeline of Attacks Carried-Out by Boko Haram:

  • July 26-29, 2009 Boko Haram uprising - nearly 1,000 people are killed in clashes between Boko Haram militants and Nigerian soldiers in four locations in the north of the country - Bauchi in Bauchi State, Maiduguri in Borno State, Potiskum in Yobe State and Wudil in Kano State - beginning the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria

  • September 7, 2010: Raid on a prison in Bauchi, Nigeria, freeing over 700 inmates;

  • May 29 May 2011: 15 people are killed in Abuja and Bauchi after bombs explode in several towns in northern Nigeria during Goodluck Jonathan's swearing as president.

  • June 2011: Boko Haram’s first suicide bombing takes place at a police station in Abuja;

  • August 26, 2011: Suicide bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja killing 23 people in one of the deadliest attacks in the U.N.’s history;

  • November 4, 2011, Damaturu attacks - between 100 and 150 people are killed in a series of coordinated assaults in northern Nigeria.

  • December 22-23, December 2011 Nigeria clashes - 68 people, of whom are 50 militants, at least 7 soldiers, and 11 civilians, are killed in clashes between Boko Haram militants and Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri and Damaturu.

  • December 25 - December 2011 Nigeria bombings - 41 people are killed by Boko Haram bomb attacks and shootings on churches.

  • December 25, 2011: Attacks on five churches across Nigeria in response to Christmas celebrations kill about 40 people. Attacks struck Madalla, Jos, Gadaka and Damaturu;

  • January 20, 2012, Northern Nigeria attacks, 185 people, of whom at least 150 are civilians and 32 are police officers, are killed in Kano State by Boko Haram gunmen.

  • April 2012: Car bomb near a church in Kaduna holding an Easter service kills about 40;

  • July 2012: Suicide bombing of a mosque in Maiduguri that fails to kill the most senior imam in Borno but kills five Muslims;

  • August 8, 2012 - Two Nigerian soldiers and one civilian are killed in a mosque in an apparent reprisal attack for the previous day's massacre

  • October 1-2, 2012 - Federal Polytechnic, Mubi attack - at least 25 people were killed at the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State.

  • January 1, 2013 - Nigerian Army raid kills 13 militants while in February 8 - Attack on polio vaccinators kills 9 women.

  • February 2013: Kidnapping of seven French citizens in Cameroon. They are released two months later;

  • On March 18, 2013, in a Kano bus bombing-between 22 and 65 people are killed Kano by a car

  • April 16, 2013, Baga massacre - 187 people are killed in Baga in Borno State. It is unclear whether the Nigerian military or Boko Haram is responsible for the massacre.

  • On June 9, 2013 children are killed in Maiduguri and 13 students and teachers are killed in Damaturu by Boko Haram.

  • July 6, 2013 - Yobe State school shooting - more than 42 are killed by Boko Haram gunmen in a Yobe State school.

  • August 11, 2013 - Konduga mosque shooting - 44 people are killed and 26 others injured in a mass shooting by Boko Haram in a mosque in Konduga, Borno State.

  • September 12 - Ambush by Boko Haram leaves 40 soldiers dead.

  • September 29, 2013: Massacre of 44 teachers and male students at a college - more than 50 students are killed in Gujba, Yobe State;

  • October 10, 2013 - An attack at Damboa leaves at least 20 killed;

  • October 2013 - Government forces raid rebel camps, killing around 101 Boko Haram fighters. And October 29 - Boko Haram raids Damaturu. At least 128 people are killed (95 militants, 23 soldiers, 8 policemen, and 2 civilians).

  • January 14-35, 2014  people are killed in a bombing by Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Borno State.

  • February 15, 2014 - Izghe attack - 106 killed in the village of Izghe, Borno State by Boko Haram gunmen.

  • March 14, 2014 - Boko Haram attacks the heavily fortified Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, freeing comrades from a detention facility. The military then executes about 600 unarmed recaptured detainees, according to Amnesty International

  • April 14 - April 2014 Abuja bombing - over 88 people killed in a twin bombing attack;

  • April 15 - Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping - 276 female students in Chibok, Borno State are kidnapped by Boko Haram.

  • May 5 - 2014 Gamboru Ngala attack - at least 300 people are killed in the twin towns of Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State by Boko Haram militants.

  • May 20 - 2014 Jos bombings - at least 118 villagers are killed by car bombs in the city;

  • May 27, 2014 - May 2014 Buni Yadi attack - 49 security personnel and 9 civilians are killed during a Boko Haram attack on a military base in Yobe State.

  • May 30, 2014 - The third emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Timta, is assassinated during a Boko Haram ambush.

  • June 23-25, 2014 - June 2014 central Nigeria attacks - around 171 people are killed in a series of attacks in the Middle Belt of Nigeria.

  • November 25, 2014 - Over 45 people are killed by two suicide bombers in Maiduguri, Borno State.

  • November 27, 2014 - Around 50 people are killed in Damasak by Boko Haram militants;

  • November 28, 2014, Kano bombing - at least 120 Muslim followers of the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, are killed during a suicide bombing and gun attack by Boko Haram. The 4 gunmen are subsequently killed by an angry mob.

  • December 1, 2014 – at least 5 people are killed by two female suicide bombers who detonated explosions at a crowded marketplace in Maiduguri, Borno State.

  • December 10, 2014 - At least 4 people are killed and 7 injured by female suicide bombers near a market in Kano.

  • December 11, 2014 - 30 people are killed and houses are destroyed by Boko Haram militants in Gajiganna, Borno State.[34]

  • December 13, 2014, in Gumsuri kidnappings, between 32 and 35 are killed and between 172 and 185 are kidnapped by Boko Haram in Borno State.

  • December 22, 2014, Gombe bus station bombing, at least 27 people are killed at a bus station by a bomb in Gombe State.

  • December 28-29, 2014 - December 2014 Cameroon clashes, 85 civilians, 94 militants, and 2 Cameroonian soldiers are killed following a failed Boko Haram offensive into Cameroon's Far North Region.

  • January 3-7, 2015 Baga massacre - Boko Haram militants raze the entire town of Baga in north-east Nigeria. Bodies lay strewn on Baga's streets with as many as 2,000 people having been killed. Boko Haram now controls 70% of Borno State, which is the worst-affected by the insurgency;

  • January 10, 2015 - A female suicide bomber, believed to be around 10 years old, kills herself and 19 others, possibly against her will, at a market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria and also on Jan 11, 10 years old, kill themselves and three others at a market in the northeastern city of Potiskum, Nigeria

  • January 29, 2015- The Nigerian military, in collaboration with Chadian soldiers, captures the border town of Michika from Boko Haram rebels.

  • January 31, 2015 - The African Union pledges to send up to 7,500 international soldiers to aid Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram. Chadian forces claim to have killed 120 militants, losing only 3 soldiers of their own during fighting in the north of Cameroon.

  • February 12, 2015 - The West African Allied Forces, led by Nigeria and supported by Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, invade the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, a stronghold of Boko Haram, killing scores of the insurgents. Elsewhere, the town of Mbuta, 15 miles northeast of Maiduguri, is raided by Boko Haram, resulting in the deaths of 8 residents. A dozen people are also killed in a suicide blast at Biu, 100miles southwest of Maiduguri;

  • June 22, 2015 - Maiduguri mosque bombing - 30 killed at a crowded mosque by 2 young female suicide bombers. Boko Haram marks the start of Ramadan by targeting a mosque, while the second teen appeared to run away and blew up further away, killing only herself, eyewitnesses said.

  • January 13, 2016 - A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque at Kouyape, close to the Nigerian border. The blast killed twelve people and wounded another one. The attack occurred at dawn and was attributed to Boko Haram;

  • January 29, 2016 - A 12-year-old blew himself up in the Gombis' market. The blast killed at least 11 people in Gombi;

  • May 29, 2016 - In Biu, Nigeria a tricycle taxi triggered an old IED, killing 4 civilians and one soldier who died of his injuries, two were wounded;

  • June 26, 2016 - The Nigerian army claimed they had rescued 5,000 people, mostly women and children, from four remote villages in northeast Borno state (Zangebe, Maiwa, Algaiti and Mainar) and killed six Boko Haram fighters. A civilian JTF member was also killed. The army also claimed to have killed two more Boko Haram fighters in operations at 11 other villages;

  • June 30, 2016 - At least 15 people were killed and dozens injured after a suicide bombing that targeted a mosque and a video club in Djakana, Cameroon;

  • September 25, 2016 - Four soldiers and Civilian JTF members died in Borno towns of Miyanti and Dareljamal in Kaduna State after an ambush on the army by the insurgents;

  • December  23, 2016 - President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Nigerian army has driven Boko Haram militants from the last camp in their Sambisa forest stronghold and that the terrorists are on the run;

  • December 25, 2016 - A suicide bombing attack left at least 2 people dead and injured 5 others in Mora, Cameroon while on December 26 - 2 suicide bombers struck in Maiduguri. Only one of the attackers was said to have died, as the other was reportedly captured before striking;

  • January 7, 2017 - Boko Haram attacked a Nigerian Army base in Buni Yadi, Yobe, killing at least five soldiers. Fifteen Boko Haram militants were also killed after the army launched retaliatory strikes, a military source said;

  • 13 January 13, 2017 - Three Nigerian soldiers were killed and 27 others injured as troops fought off an attack on their position by Boko Haram militants in Kangarwa village, Borno. Ten Boko Haram militants were also killed in the attack. Another four suicide bombers killed at least nine people in Madagali town, including themselves;

  • February 2, 2017 - A suspected Boko Haram attack along Cameroon's border with Nigeria killed a U.N. independent contractor and four others;

  • March 13, 2017 - Three Nigerian men were executed by Boko Haram militants. The three men were accused of being Nigerian military spies;

  • June 18, 2017 - At least 12 people have died and 11 others have been wounded in attacks by five suicide women in the Nigerian state of Borno;

  • September 5, 2017- Boko Haram members killed four farmers in a drive-by shooting in Borno state in Nigeria's volatile northeast;

  • December 28, 2017 - A suicide bombing caused by a Boko Haram militant in Borno State killed at least six people and injured 13 others;

  • December 30, 20177 - Boko Haram fighters opened fire on a group of loggers in a remote village in northeast Nigeria, killing 25 people. The gunmen also burned three vehicles laden with firewood heading to Maiduguri;

  • December 31, 2017 - At least two people were killed and 30 more were injured in an attack by Boko Haram militants in northern Cameroon;

  • January 3, 2018 - 14 civilians were killed when a suspected Boko Haram militant blew himself up at a mosque in Gamboru;

  • January 16, 2018 - At least two civilians were killed and a dozen others injured in a suicide attack near a mosque in the Far North Region;

  • January 18, 2018 - Boko Haram jihadists have killed five people in an attack on a village in Adamawa state, northeast Nigeria;

  • March 1, 2018 - Boko Haram militants killed at least 11 people including three aid workers in an attack on a military barracks in the town of Rann in Borno state. Another three aid workers were wounded and one more kidnapped;

  • March 2, 2018 - A female suicide bomber blew up herself at a mosque in the Fulatari area of Buni Yadi, Gujba local government area of Yobe state, killing seven persons and injuring 28 others;

  • April 26, 2018 - Six people, including three civilians, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force and two suicide bombers, were killed and nine others injured in an attack by Boko Haram insurgents in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Later another suicide bomber attacked an armoured van of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the same area, injuring two police officers;

  • May 1, 2018 - 2018 Mubi suicide bombings - At least 86 people were killed in two suicide attacks at a mosque and a market in Mubi, a town in the state of Adamawa in northeastern Nigeria. 58 others were injured in the bombings’

  • June 4, 2018 - Three suicide bombers, two women and a man, blew themselves up in Diffa in southeast Niger. The first explosion took place near a mosque, the second near a Koran school and the third not far from a business centre. Nine people were killed and 38 others injured in the attacks;

  • June 20, 2018 - Fifteen people were injured when two suicide bombers attacked military barracks in the city of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria;

  • July 20, 2018 - Insurgents swarmed 81 Division Task Force Brigade in Jilli, near Geidam, Yobe State. Three Nigerian Army officers and 28 soldiers were confirmed killed;

  • October 8, 2018 - Boko Haram attack leaves 15 soldiers dead in attacks near the Niger Border and around the Lake Chad;

  • November  22, 2018 - Insurgents overran a Nigerian army battalion at Metele Village in Guzamala Local government in Borno State killing 70 soldiers;

  • June 17, 2019 - 2019 Konduga bombings - Three suicide bombers detonated near a group of people watching a football game, killing 30 and wounding over 40;

  • July 2, 2019 - Boko Haram attacked the village of Inmates in Tillabéri Region, Niger, using a suicide vest and guns, killing 18 soldiers and another 4 soldiers were captured;

  • August 5, 2019 - Boko Haram insurgents raided the Borno state town of Monguno, with the resulting clash with troops leaving three civilians dead;

  • August 6, 2019 - Two female suicide bombers struck a crowd of women collecting firewood in Mafa, Borno State, killing three civilians and wounding eight more;

  • August 27, 2019 - Boko Haram insurgents killed 11 construction workers and wounded several more in Wajirko village, Borno State;

  • September 10, 2019 – President Buhari said the terror group “has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands.” However, Chief of Army Staff Buratai had said in May that Boko Haram had been defeated and Nigerian forces were now battling an “international criminal gang known as Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).” ISWAP is a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, the terror group in Nigeria whose activities have caused over 20,000 deaths since 2009;

  • September 26, 2019 - An ISWAP ambush on a military convoy outside the town of Gubio left at least seven Nigerian soldiers dead;

  • December 1, 2019 - Boko Haram. At least 14 people were killed, five were injured, and 13 more were missing in the attack in the Lake Chad fishing village of Kaiga, Chad;

  • December  22, 2019 - Boko Haram militants killed six people and abducted five more, including two aid workers, when they set up a fake checkpoint on a highway near Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria;

  • December 24, 2019 - Boko Haram militants killed seven people in a raid near Chibok, a Christian town in Borno State, on Christmas Eve. They also abducted a teenage girl;

  • December 26, 2019 - Boko Haram militants executed 11 Christians, who were kidnapped from Maiduguri and Damaturu, in a video after Christmas. The militants said the execution was in response to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi;

  • January 6, 2020 - Gamboru bombing - At least 32 people were killed and over 35 injured when an IED exploded on a crowded bridge in Gamboru, Borno State, Nigeria.[409]

  • January 7, 2020 - Twenty soldiers were killed and more than 1,000 people displaced when a town in Borno State, Nigeria, was attacked by Boko Haram militants.[410]

  • February 9, 2020 - Auno attack - At least 30 civilians were killed and many more abducted by militants in Auno, Borno State, Nigeria. Four soldiers were killed and seven more wounded in an attack on the same village last month;

  • March 4, 2020 - Four police officers and two militiamen were killed by Boko Haram militants during a raid on an army base in Damboa, Borno State, Nigeria;

  • April 9, 2020 - President Idriss Déby of Chad said his country's troops will no longer engage in military operations abroad to focus on fighting militants and rebels at home. Chad - MNJTF, which focuses on fighting extremists in the Lake Chad region, and the G5 Sahel force, which focuses on fighting extremists in the Sahel region. Thousands of Chadian soldiers will withdraw from bases in Niger, Mali, and Nigeria by April 22;

  • April 16, 2020 - At least 44 suspected Boko Haram militants were fatally poisoned while imprisoned in Chad. It was not clear how or why they were poisoned;

  • May 3, 2020 - Militants attacked a military camp outside Niger's Diffa city, killing two soldiers and wounding three more;

  • May 18, 2020 - Twelve soldiers were killed and at least ten more wounded after Boko Haram militants attacked their outpost northeast of Diffa, Niger. Seven of the attackers were "neutralized";

  • June 10, 2020 - At least 81 people were killed in an attack on a village by suspected Boko Haram militants in northeast Nigeria, including the village head, children and women, were abducted from the Faduma Kolomdi community in Borno state government said as reported by CNN;

  • June 2020 - Some officials of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) ran into an ambush by Boko Haram on the Maiduguri-Monguno road. Reports stated that an unknown number of humanitarian staffers of SEMA was abducted by the attackers and  Boko Haram had executed five aid workers over an alleged failure by the government to pay a ransom;

  • June 13, 2020 - 2020 Monguno and Nganzai massacres - ISWAP conducted two attacks in the Monguno and Nganzai areas of Nigeria's Borno State, killing at least 20 soldiers in the first location and at least 40 civilians in the second location. Hundreds of civilians were wounded and many buildings were torched, according to local sources;

  • June 27, 2020 - 9 soldier and 2 militia members were killed in a Boko Haram ambush;

  • June 28, 2020 - Six Nigerian soldiers were killed in an attack on their positions by Boko Haram, Boko Haram stole weapons in the attack;

  • July 7, 2020 - An ambush conducted by ISWAP on a Nigerian military convoy at Bulabulin village, Borno State, Nigeria, killed at least 35 soldiers and left more than 18 injured and 30 missings. The government claimed at least 17 insurgents were killed in the battle;

  • July 10, 2020 - Boko Haram assaulted Baga and killed about 20 soldiers stationed there, and then opened fire on a military convoy near Gada Blu, killing 15 soldiers;

  • July 133, 2020 - Militants killed eight soldiers while attacking a military convoy near Kumulla, Borno State, Nigeria, and then killed another two soldiers during a firefight near Kolore village;

  • July 18, 2020 - Gunmen attacked several villages near Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, killing three farmers;

  • July 22, 2020 - Five aid workers were executed by armed men who had kidnapped them last month in Borno State, Nigeria;

  • July 27, 2020 - the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, and his convoy were attacked in an ambush by Boko Haram while returning from Baga, a deserted fishing community in Kaka local government area, Borno State

  • August 2, 2020 - Nguetchewe attack - Boko Haram militants attacked an IDP camp in Far North, Cameroon, killing 16 people and wounding at least seven more;

  • August 6, 2020 - Boko Haram jihadists killed 10 civilians in attacks on three villages in Borno, the village of Kumari, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from regional capital Maiduguri, late Sunday, killing also four residents as they slept;

  • August 9, 2020 - Kouré shooting - ISWAP killed six French aid workers and two Nigerien civilians in Kouré, Tillabéri Region, Niger;

  • August 18, 2020 - Boko Haram (BHT)/Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) elements campaign of terror and destruction, the terrorists on  attacked troops’ location in Kukawa town in Borno State where the attack was vehemently thwarted;

  • September 21, 2020 - Boko Haram Kills top Nigerian Army Commander Colonel Dahiru Bako, died from injuries sustained when his team encountered a prolonged ambush laid by the Boko Haram splinter faction recognized as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) said Nigeria Army’s Operation Lafiya Dole, Ado Isa;

  • September 25, 2020 - Governor Zulum attack - The jihadist use a donkey strapped with explosives to ambush the convoy of Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, killed 30 on Friday in restive Borno state near the town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad, included victims were 12 policemen, five soldiers, four members of a government-backed militia and nine civilians; “many people were injured”.

  • September 26, 2020 – Nigeria Air Force (NAF) sustains onslaught against Insurgents in the Sambisa forest which mopped out the terrorists according to Defense Headquarters, Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole;

  • September 28, 2020 – 13 Boko Haram Terrorist, 23 family member surrender to Nigerian troops in Borno;

  • October 1, 2020 - The Defence Headquarters says the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole, the subsidiary Operation Hail Storm2, had neutralized several Boko Haram terrorists and destroyed their hideouts at Maima and Tusuy near Warshale and Tongule along the Dikwa-Rann axis of Borno following credible intelligence reports and series of aerial surveillance missions, which indicated that the locations were being used as rendezvous points by the terrorists, said the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche.

  • October 6-7, 2020 - The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) launched an air interdiction operation, codenamed “KASHE MUGU 2”, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE has bombarded some bandit’s camps/hideouts and killed scores of their fighters in the forests and border areas of Kaduna State.

  • October 8, 2020 - Dogo Gide, a notorious leader of a violent armed group in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria says attacks on communities by armed groups will continue so long as the military continues to conduct air raids on his hideout. The embattled leader said he was willing to stop all violent activities by his group and others in the state, particularly in the Kuyanbana District of Maru Local Government Area, if the government ceased air raids on the forest.

  • Nov 2020: In Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, armed bandits raided the town and killed no fewer than 40 people, mostly old people, women and children.

  • Nov 2020: No fewer than 81 civilians were killed and scores injured when suspected members of the Boko Haram sect on Tuesday night invaded Zowo village, 34km away from Gubio town, the headquarters of Gubio Local Government  Area of Borno State.

  • November 29, 2020: UN says at least 110 killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack in Nigeria where many victims were beheaded. The incident was the “most violent direct attack against innocent civilians” in the country in 2020. A group of armed men on motorcycles ambushed the farmers as they went into the rice fields to gather the harvest on Saturday. The bodies of 43 farmers have been recovered after the massacre, with around 30 of them being beheaded. The security forces have been searching the area for those missing. “Several women” have also been kidnapped by the militants, with Kallon calling for their safe and swift release. The burial ceremony for the 43 victims took place in Zabarmari village on Sunday, attended by hundreds of mourners and Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum

  • Dec 11, 2020: Police Command in Katsina has confirmed that gunmen attacked Government Science Secondary School Kankara where at least 333 students (abducted)  are still missing since the attack in what appears to be a major expansion of the jihadist group's activities into new areas in Katsina state in northern Nigeria.


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