Boko Haram has succeeded in pushing Nigerian government troops from several states in Northeastern Nigeria, and this has in turn enabled Boko Haram to establish an unconventional form of “Sharia” government over its “caliphate”.
Boko Haram has adopted and regionalized a Middle Eastern jihadi ideology and system of warfare to wreak havoc and devastation in Nigeria and Cameroon.
Gross military blunders and intelligence failures have occasioned the transformation of Boko Haram from a radical political movement into a brutal jihadist terror organization which has initiated and maintained an increasingly potent jihadi insurgency. The emboldened jihadi group has even started to spread its insurgency to neighboring nations.
Intelligence assessments show that Boko Haram threatens the national security of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. This threat has compelled the regional governments to mobilize troops to counter the ever-expanding jihadi menace.
The Nigerian government half-hearted measures to tackle the insurgency have jeopardized the entire security of West Africa. To worsen matters, Nigeria has actively snubbed calls to seek international help in tackling the insurgency with the disengaged government taking to rhetoric and scapegoating to rationalize its incompetence and failures. The current political leadership of the nation has deliberately overlooked the carnage caused by Boko Haram. For instance, President Goodluck Jonathan has kept mum for a fortnight before acknowledging the Baga tragedy but was exceptionally swift to denounce the Charlie Hebdo attack in France. This depicts a political system delinked from security realities and a supersession of political maneuvering over national security matters.
Nigeria’s tribal, kleptocratic and broken political system risks disintegrating the nation. The upcoming election particularly exposes the nation to a fierce terrorist offensive that may exacerbate ethnic passions, amplify religious fissures and instigate ethno-regional secessionism. To avert such an outcome, international organizations and West African nations have rallied together to craft concerted measures that will enable them to deal with the Islamist threat. However, the goodwill gestures are likely to fail if the Nigerian government does not rein in on its undisciplined military (who more often than not, ran away from terrorists instead of engaging them), and subsequently retrain and re-arm the reformed military.