The Economist explains what we talked about today: Boko Haram

The Economist explains: Why Nigeria has not yet defeated Boko Haram | The Economist.

The crisis in the north-east needs to be seen in the context of generally rising criminality in Nigeria. Kidnappings for ransom are rife: celebrities and clergymen are plucked off the street in daylight. Hundreds of people are killed every year in land disputes. Thieves siphon off as much as a fifth of the country’s oil output in the Niger delta. Piracy is common. Rampant criminality also infects politics. Gangsters aid politicians by intimidating opponents. In return elected officials share out funds plundered from state coffers. Two years ago KPMG, a global audit firm, named Nigeria as the most fraud-prone country in Africa.

North-east Nigeria has been ignored by the government, and now they aren’t able to deal with it.

Boko Haram’s motivations lie not so much in religious fanaticism as in protest against government neglect. While fabulously wealthy, Nigeria’s government and elite shares very little with the masses, especially those in the north-east, traditionally the poorest and least influential part of the country. Development levels there are among the lowest in the world, despite being one of OPEC’s biggest oil producers. Nigeria’s government has also neglected to pour money into its armed forces, out of both greed and fear. Coups used to be common. So now unpopular leaders are fighting an insurgency without capable security forces, which often inflames the situation, for example when under-paid and ill-trained soldiers rape and pillage just like Boko Haram.

So until the government cleans up its act, we can unfortunately prepare for more of these horror stories.

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