Nigeria - Political Violence Nigeria - Political Violence
Political, religious, and ethnic violence continue to affect Nigeria. Boko Haram, formally known as Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, has waged a terrorist campaign across a growing number of northern states, calling for the institution of Shari’a law across Northern Nigeria. Such attacks have resulted in thousands of deaths since 2009. Boko Haram has targeted churches, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and leisure sites with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Suicide Vehicle-borne IEDS across nine Northern states and in Abuja. In 2011, Boko Haram bombed the National Police Force headquarters and conducted a suicide car bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja. Attacks on innocent civilians accelerated from late 2013 through 2014. In 2013, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for raiding educational institutions and murdering students. In 2014, Boko Haram began using young girls as agents of suicide bomb attacks. In 2015, consistent with his campaign pledges, newly-elected President Muhammadu Buhari has focused on matters of insecurity in Nigeria and in neighboring countries. Due to challenging security dynamics in the North, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria has significantly limited official travel north of Abuja. Such trips occur only with security measures designed to mitigate the threats of car-bomb attacks and abductions.
Decades of neglect, persistent poverty, and environmental damage caused by the oil and gas industry has left Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region vulnerable to renewed violence. The 2009 amnesty of Delta militants significantly reduced attacks on pipelines and other petroleum facilities, increasing oil production from 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) at the peak of militancy to over 2 million bpd today. However, the sector still faces egregious onshore oil theft and maritime criminality, substandard infrastructure, and byzantine regulation that dampen oil and gas production and impede the sector’s further growth.
Though each oil producing state receives a 13 percent derivation of the oil revenue produced within its borders, and the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) receives an additional USD 1 billion in annual funding to implement social and economic development projects, the Niger Delta suffers from endemic poverty and dismal federal government services.
Endemic corruption and environmental devastation caused by decades of oil spills remain largely unaddressed. State and local governments offer few social services, and Niger Delta residents continue to seek direct payments and other assistance from oil companies. Some oil companies have implemented their own socio-economic development programs to assist local communities, but the virtual absence of concerted government attention to the needs of these communities means many of them remain angry and resentful of oil production activities in their region. The limited scope and timeframe of the amnesty program, which expired in 2015 , a shortage of sufficient employment opportunities for both the thousands of amnesty beneficiaries as well as other underserved youth, and the federal government’s failure to address the region’s underlying grievances could result in a resumption of broader and more violent criminal activity without concerted government action.