Nigeria’s national security came under intense national and international spotlight in the wake of the 14 April 2014 Boko Haram abduction of over 200 school girls who were preparing for their WAEC examination at Chibok, in Borno State. The ease with which the girls were abducted surprised everyone and the brutality of the insurgents after the abduction galvanized world sympathy for the students. In this issue, we cover the crisis in Nigeria’s national security policy in the light of the series of attacks by Boko Haram and the negative criticism at both national and international levels.
Many questions remain unanswered, most especially, the repeated attacks by Boko Haram, which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds Nigerians. The country is united on the position that the menace of Boko Haram will not stand. The terrorist group will eventually be defeated or degraded to the extent that it does not pose serious danger to the country. But in the meantime, it has done irreparable damage to the prestige and image of Nigeria and the longer it takes to bring this menace under control, the more damage would be inflicted on the country. We believe that the defeat of Boko Haram will demand concerted action both at confronting the group and fine-tuning Nigeria’s national security architecture. In the final analysis, only Nigeria can put its house in order.
In the three articles below, one examines the challenges confronting Nigeria’s national security policy in light of Boko Haram’s insurgency. The views in the article remain valid. Since the publication of the article, President Jonathan has requested the National Assembly to authorize him to borrow one billion US dollars for the war against Boko Haram, which is consistent with the position in the article for increased funding for the military in order to successfully combat Boko Haram. The second article is on the national conference. While we supported the convening of the national conference, the general perception is that the national conference went off on a tangent from the excruciating burdens of the Nigeria project. It failed to address the compelling challenges confronting country. The third reflects on the option of negotiating the release of the Chibok Girls. Just a few days ago, Honorable Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives, added his powerful voice to the calls for the government to negotiate with Boko Haram to release the abducted girls. While it is not clear if he were speaking for himself or just providing cover for the Jonathan Administration, there is no consensus on negotiating with terrorists.
Shola J. Omoregie