Revealer Post on Nigeria’s Brief Attempted Cease-Fire with Boko Haram Posted on July 23, 2013 by Alex Thurston I’m up at New York University’s The Revealer with a post on the Nigerian government’s recent announcement of a cease-fire with the militant Muslim sect Boko Haram. Former Amb. John Campbell has also posted on this topic here. Share this:ShareEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
Thanks for the post. Given Nigeria is at the point where they are withdrawing their peacekeepers from Mali, and that the government seems impotent in negotiations, how much longer do you think the Nigerian government can exist without serious external intervention? The fact that Nigeria seems to have trouble paying/feeding its troops also bodes ill for the government’s prospects. Do you think Nigeria is on track to follow Mali’s footsteps?
Predictions are difficult, but I actually expect the Nigerian government to hold on for the foreseeable future. They cannot halt the violence in the northeast, nor can they prevent massive oil theft in the Delta, but I do not think any force will overthrow the government, or that full-scale civil war will break out, any time soon. On the other hand Nigeria has serious problems, and seems caught in cycles that leave it unable to solve them. That could lead to a real escalation of communal violence and even greater disparities in wealth and security between different people and different parts of the country.
Governments tend to be surprisingly resilient and Boko Haram doesn’t seem to have the same power relative to the national army that Ansar Dine and the MNLA did relative to Mali’s army.
I agree, but a two years ago I thought that the Malian government would be safe from the same sort of stress. Granted, Nigeria is getting a bit more external help than Mali, but you have to remember that Mali’s governmental failings weren’t due to Ansar al Dine but a military coup. Now, if Nigeria is failing to pay and/or supply its troops as reported, then it seems as if they are at risk of the same.
Uncaged, what external help is Nigeria receiving? To the best of my knowledge, she is receiving none and if at all very recent and negligible. Most Nigerians will want our govt to quit playing Father Christmas and only intervenes where our interest needs to be protected. We do not have another $12 billion to spend on prompting up democracy in Mali as we last did in Liberia that was not appreciated.
John, The United States and Nigeria have been security partners since the Clinton administration.
This should clarify: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121617:stakes-in-nigeria-us-military-security-co-operation-&catid=1:national&Itemid=559
“General Carter Ham confirmed last January in Stuttgart, Germany that the U.S. had deployed its intelligence machinery to support Nigeria in fighting the threat posed by Boko Haram. Ham also added that the U.S. had been collaborating with the Nigerian military to stem the growing trend of maritime crimes like piracy, illegal bunkering and oil theft.”
indicates that there is a not insignificant amount of assistance and collaboration taking place.
I’m not Nigerian, nor am I any sort of Nigeria expert. I’m just trying to read and learn, so I’m happy to defer those of you who know a lot more than me.
You make it seem as if the US is the “be all” and “end all” of the Nigerian security system. Nigeria fought a bloody civil war (3 million dead) without any US assistance.
That is not my intent, at all. By “not insignificant” I meant that the phrase implied manned assets were in the area (instead of just funding being given). I by no means wish to marginalize the effort put forth by the Nigerian army. In fact, this is again why from an ignorant westerner’s perspective there seems cause for concern; in other cases where the military believes that administrative incompetency exists there is a coup risk. Indications that the Nigerian army isn’t getting paid regularly make me think that they might find the administration incompetent. That’s why I’m asking these questions, to see if you all who know more than me can educate me on your perspective of the actual conditions.
Again, the comparison of US help in Mali vs Nigeria is just meant to be noted, and valued at whatever proper value that may be. I’m just trying to understand the context better.
Nigerian soldiers are being paid a lot more regularly today than they’ve been in the past. The problem was with the soldiers stationed to Mali – & two reasons are given for the withdrawal of Nigerian troops from Mali.
1. The appointment of a Rwandan to head the UN effort in Mali (this is seen as a slight on Nigeria, traditionally the largest contributor of troops in West Africa).
2. Security needs at home.
Let me also add that the Boko Haram threat is a lot less serious than it was last year (this time last year, churches were bombed every other Sunday & the carnage was more widespread – not largely limited to the North East as it is today).
In addition, Nigeria has other very important arms suppliers like China, Russia or Ukraine (most Nigerian Military equipment comes from these nations & China provides very useful signals intelligence equipment).
Chike, thanks for the extra information, and thanks for the background on their other suppliers. As I said before, I’m largely ignorant and am searching for the right avenues to learn more.
Sorry Uncaged, not to seem like I’m piling on but where do you get Nigeria is unable to pay/ feed its soldiers?
As has been said Mali is fundamentally different from Mali, the issues of Mali are vastly different from those of Nigeria and to be honest there are no external force that could hope to defeat the Nigerian military.
Internally by themselves Boko Haram, MEND etc do not threaten the existence of Nigeria. Nigeria’s biggest existential threat will be simultaneous rebellions all over the country with uprisings in the Delta, North East Middle Belt etc further draining the military and security forces.
Unfortunately the 2015 election looks like it will bring all these forces to a head but to infer that Nigeria needs external help (of what type exactly?) or that it will collapse under vengeful army from the North is ridiculous. Boko Haram could not even hold Bama much less get to Abuja not to talk of Lagos or Enugu
Peccavi, the information I had found on Nigeria’s troops being unpaid/supplied were those referenced by Chike above (ref: http://premiumtimesng.com/news/138985-exclusive-hardship-mounts-as-poorly-fed-nigerian-troop-in-mali-are-unpaid-for-three-months.html)
I did not know whether to extrapolate Mali’s troop conditions to the rest of Nigeria. Thanks for the additional input.
And I at no point was implying that Nigeria needed foreign help. I was stating that they have foreign help (with out making a judgment on the value or necessity of the foreign help, except in differentiating them at a very superficial level from Mali).
Thanks for the response UnCaged, however that report has been discredited. It took a courtesy visit from a local leader and turned it into ‘Nigerian troops begging for food’
There is nothing I’ve heard from troops in Mali which indicates they are underfed or under resourced
Thanks, appreciate the correction. Do you have a link explaining the situation?