The Economist gives a brief synopsis of Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency that has waged a campaign of terror against Christians across Nigeria’s north since for nearly a decade in pursuit of a separate Islamic state to be ruled by Sharia law.
11/20/2014 Nigeria (The Economist) – For the past five years an Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram has grown in stature and gruesomeness in Nigeria’s north-east. It has expanded its membership, range of operations and the territory it controls to the point where two dozens cities are beyond government control. This has happened despite the fact that Nigeria is now Africa’s largest economy and has a highly capable political elite. Currently the army is fighting insurgents for control of the city of Chibok where Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls earlier this year. How come Nigeria’s situation keeps getting worse, given international support for the Nigerian government?
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.