The United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria have entered into a major security pact that will see Britain train Nigerian army counterterrorism squads to fight Boko Haram terrorists. The plans will see UK armed forces training full fighting units for the first time, with the aim of equipping them to also tackle Islamic State West Africa which is a splinter group from Boko Haram.
Under the new partnership, Britain will expand its provision of equipment and training for the Nigerian army to tackle the improvised explosive devices used by the groups. The UK is in a unique position to help Nigeria seeing as the former faced an insurgency style of using bombs (currently adopted by the Boko Haram) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up until now, the UK had only trained Nigerian soldiers individually not in their full fighting teams helping to advance the skills of some 30,000 troops since 2015, but the new move to train full units represents a strengthening of cooperation.
In the same pact, Theresa May, UK prime minister echoed that the pact would launch a £13m initiative to train over 100,000 school children caught in Boko Haram’s conflict zone and counter the group’s propaganda. The programme will cut the number of new recruits joining Boko Haram by tackling the false information spread by the group to attract new members. The initiative is geared at ensuring that the people do not live in fear of being targeted by militants or forced from their homes, and no child should lose out on an education because of the threat of terror.
Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa are responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people, with almost two million forced to live away from their homes in the northeast of the country.