Back in 2004, a special account was created in Nigeria, which stores funds received from the sale of crude oil and remaining after all the necessary expenses. As of December 13 2017, there were over 2,3 billion dollars in this account. Half of this amount, the government is ready to spend on anti-terrorism measures. The decision to increase spending on the fight against terrorism fits into the framework of the overall intensification of anti-terrorist activity in Nigeria. Recently, the commander of the armed forces fighting against extremists in the province of Borno was replaced.
General Ibrahim Attakhir was replaced by Major General Rogers Nicholas - as can be seen from the name and surname of a Christian by religion. Apparently, the president of Nigeria, General Mohammad Bukhari (by the way, a Muslim by religion), considered Rogers Nicholas a more reliable figure. The conflict with Boko Haram has been going on for more than a decade, the command of government troops constantly reports on the approach of the “complete defeat” of the group, but in fact, the victory is still very, very far away. Although 16 on December 2017 was reported by authorities to detain 220 militants of the organization - 167 militants were captured by government forces during operations in Lake Chad, another 53 militant was arrested in Borno State.
According to official data, over 50% of the population of Nigeria professes Islam. In this country, there is a rather typical Sahel ethnical division — northern desert and semi-desert areas inhabit the peoples professing Islam, and southern wooded areas - Christians (mostly Protestants) and followers of traditional African cults. Despite the fact that Nigeria - rather the periphery of the Islamic world, religious traditions in the northern part of the country are very strong. In terms of religiosity and compliance with all rules and regulations, many states of the Arab East may envy the states of Northern Nigeria. However, not only strong religious traditions, but also numerous economic problems contributed to the popularization of radical ideas in Nigeria.
The official name “Boko Haram” is “Jamaat Ahlis Sunna Liddaavati wal-Jihad”, which means “Society of followers of the dissemination of the teachings of the prophet and jihad”. But locals prefer to call the organization "Boko Haram" - "Western education is a sin." This name most accurately conveys the original purpose of this grouping - the fight against the Western model of education, which, in the opinion of conservative-minded residents of Northern Nigeria, destroys the traditional way of life and corrupts younger generations.
Although the organization "Boko Haram" appeared more than fifteen years ago, it gained worldwide fame relatively recently - for its massacres of "sinners" and "infidels." Maiduguri, where this organization appeared in 2002, was the administrative center of the northeastern state of Borno, located on the border with Chad. 1 197 497 people live in Maiduguri, most of them belong to two major North American people - Hausa and Kanuri. And it is the Kanuri that make up the bulk of the activists and followers of Boko Haram. At one time, Kanuri played a very prominent role in the African stories. In the XIV century, they created a powerful state of Born, in which in the XVI century there was a strengthening of the position of Islam, and the Sharia was adopted as the main law.
The northern states have always occupied a special place in Nigeria. All attempts by the central authorities to unify the management structure, the legal system, faced a tough opposition from the northerners, who were accustomed to living according to their traditions and customs. In the north of the country, the traditional nobility still plays an exceptional role in political life - the Sultan Sokoto (the state that existed before the British colonization), which is considered the traditional leader of Nigerian Muslims, as well as the emirs of large cities. For a long time, conservative-minded residents of the North were content with the fact that the states lived according to Sharia and were headed by Muslims. Now these preferences are not enough for the young generation of northerners. The preachers of radical ideas connected with the Middle Eastern religious organizations and special services of the Persian Gulf countries add fuel to the fire. The ideological influence of the Middle Eastern emissaries led to the fact that radical young people turned against the older generations of local Muslims and began to criticize Sufi tariqas (brotherhoods) traditional for Northern Nigeria - Tijaniya and Kadiriya.
In the North - huge unemployment, especially among young people. Students and schoolchildren become the most susceptible to the propaganda of religious extremist ideas, the young unemployed are urban and rural marginalized. There are many religious schools in Northern Nigeria, but most of their students and graduates cannot realize themselves in high life and join the ranks of radical organizations. The role played by the economic situation of the northern states.
Nigeria is an oil producing state. It is oil exports that provide about 80% of the state budget revenues. Moreover, Nigerian oil is supplied primarily to Western Europe and the USA. Almost all the oil fields in Nigeria are located in the “Christian” South. Muslims of Northern Nigeria may be happy to live in a separate state, but they are well aware that having no oil reserves or access to the sea, in the case of secession, the North American states will turn into another poor state of the Sahel, such as Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso or Chad.
In turn, the conflict in the north of the country may also be advantageous to the southern-nigerian elites. At the end of the 1960s, Nigeria already had an armed conflict between the central government and the Igbo separatists, who advocated the creation of the Biafra state. Now the champions of the oil producing division can act more subtly. After all, the ongoing civil war in the North, the constant terrorist attacks against the Christian population - a great argument in favor of secession of the southern oil-producing states under the slogan "Stop feeding the North."
With American and European assistance, Nigeria could have long been able to cope with terrorists operating in the north of the country if the latter also did not have solid support - not only from local unemployed youth and conservative circles, but also from many representatives of the political, military and economic elite. North, as well as from international radical fundamentalist organizations. If the West had previously feared that Boko Haram would join Al-Qaeda, then the reality turned out to be much worse. 7 March 2015 was videotape in which the fighters "Boko Haram" swore allegiance to the IG. However, this circumstance entailed internal contradictions in Boko Haram itself.
The charismatic leader Abubakar Shekau, who led Boko Haram from 2009 onwards - after the death of the founder of the organization, Mohammed Yusuf, joined the fight to maintain control of the organization with Abu Musab al-Barnavi, who was appointed by the IH to "wali" (ruler) of West Africa. In Shekau, the reputation of a more “frostbitten” and cruel leader who does not abhor reprisals against the civilian population, while Barnavi urged members of Boko Haram to stop killing co-religionists and focus on the fight against government forces and other religions. But the followers of Shekau are not in a hurry to follow these calls. For example, in November 2017. 17, a one-year-old suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a mosque in the city of Mubi (Adamawa State), killing more than 50 people - mostly they were members of the mosque. Very often, Boko Haram militants attack ordinary civilians - peasants, cattle breeders, fishermen, and the latter’s religious affiliation plays no role for terrorists.
Like many other African rebels, the Boko Haram militants do not disdain to take adolescents and even children into their ranks. And often they are used in the most bloodthirsty way - as suicide bombers, live bombs. 12 December 2017 in the city of Gvoza in northeastern Nigeria, two underage girls were blown up by a crowd of passersby. In addition to the young terrorists themselves, four more people were killed.
Like their like-minded people in Syria and Iraq, the Boko Haram militants do not stop at the abduction of women and children, not only as hostages, but also for slavery. So, in 2014, militants stole 276 girls during an attack on a school dormitory. Subsequently, only 57 minors were released, another 40 girls allegedly became voluntary wives of the militants, and the rest were either killed by militants or died as a result of government raids aviation Nigeria at the terrorist base. In total, in recent years, Boko Haram has abducted more than two thousand girls.
The political elites of northern Nigeria are ambiguous with regard to Boko Haram. Of course, formally all the representatives of the power structures of the northern states, traditional leaders and security officials, big businessmen position themselves as fierce opponents of the militants. But in reality, the ongoing civil war in the northern states makes it possible to beat out enormous sums of money from the federal budget of Nigeria. This money is deposited in the pockets of high-ranking officials. Northerners love to lobby their interests in the government, referring to the difficult socio-economic situation and the threat of terrorism.
There is one more, very important aspect of the activity of Boko Haram. The modern political borders of African states are inherited from the colonial era. Almost all the modern countries of Tropical Africa were created artificially, while the confessional and ethnic affinity of the peoples that were part of these states was completely ignored.
Thus, practically all the states of the Sahel faced the same problems - in Mali, Chad, Nigeria there is a clear division into a more Islamized and arabic North and Negro South, where the Christian and pagan population is higher. Until recently, a similar problem existed in Sudan, but the long-term civil war between Arabs and Negroid tribes of the South practicing Christianity and traditional cults ended in the division of the country and the creation of a new state of South Sudan. The Malinese Tuareg have repeatedly declared their ambitions. The Kanuri, which are the basis of Boko Haram, make up the entire 4% of the population in Nigeria. Their tribesmen live in neighboring Chad, Niger, Cameroon, so it is not surprising that Boko Haram extended its activities to the territories of these states. The situation is complicated by the transparency of state borders in the Sahel. Militants quietly make raids on the territory of Chad or Cameroon.
The current president of Nigeria, 75, Major General Muhammad Bukhari, was already the country's president — for the first time he headed Nigeria 31 on December 1983 of the year, overthrowing civilian President Shehu Shagari. Then the leader of the military coup explained his actions by the need to fight corruption. Bukhari seriously tightened the regime, banned strikes, created political police, but failed to defeat corruption, and in the 1985 year, Bukhari was overthrown by another commander, Major General Ibrahim Babangida. However, in the 2000's. Bukhari returned to politics again and March 28 2015 won the presidential election. The current president is considered a hard liner and does not hide his intentions to completely eliminate Boko Haram in Nigerian territory. But he is a northerner and is unlikely to really go too far in his actions.
Finally, do not forget about another important point. In 2010, Chinese investment in the Nigerian economy grew very seriously. China is increasingly penetrating into Nigeria and is beginning to influence not only the economy, but also the political life of the most populated country in Africa. The United States and Great Britain, long considered the main “patrons” of Nigeria, are not at all pleased with this development of events.