Nigeria’s victory is no victory at all.
Squatters in Maidiguri currently reside in old university premises or are crammed in homes with kind strangers. Several old men sit along streets begging for money whereas women sell jewellery or fruits at the Monday Market, to earn money to pay for a meal. Those living far away from the city centre cannot benefit from help, particularly in Borno State. In such remote areas, many people would die if they are not treated; many face severe acute malnutrition due to starvation.
Nigeria witnessed the first peaceful power transfer in May 2015 since independence, after Muhammadu Buhari, a former military leader defeated the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan. Before the elections, Nigeria and her neighbouring countries pushed the Boko Haram militia out of its strongholds. Consequently, Nigeria’s economy surpassed South Africa’s, becoming Africa’s largest economy in 2014. However, the north-eastern and oil-rich Delta regions of Nigeria are facing terror attacks from Boko haram militia. The attacks have spawned a series of challenges, including budgetary shortfalls (due to poor oil prices) and Islamic insurgency. This has negatively impacted the Nigerian economy.
Atleast 6 million people who were affected by Boko Haram in Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, are facing severe hunger. Mohammed Yusuf’s radical teachings spawned the Islamic extremist movement that displaced and killed many people. The insurgency is even more disastrous in Borno, Chibok, Madagali, Asaka, and Maiduguri (a straggling refugee camp) villages in Nigeria, where massive insurgent activities and assaults are being carried out by the Boko Haram. The attacks on these villages belie President Buhari’s “technical victory” over the Boko Haram pact claimed in 2015, not exactly explaining why there is massive displacement of people in Nigeria (over 2.2 million people). The terror and horrors consequent of several small attacks bespeak the increasing humanitarian disaster in Nigeria, particularly in the Lake Chad region. Despite humanitarian support being in place, the United Nations can’t raise enough money to help combat the issues. Lack of proper emergency rooms for the treatment of the injured makes it hard to provide aid to the typical rural areas such as Borno. In addition, most of the Boko Haram insurgency victims live in absurd poverty, only scraping for survival even in absence of the insurgency terrors.
Boko Haram’s victims can be easily overlooked. Convincing the world to pay attention to the Boko haram crisis is nearly impossible, inspite of the Boko Haram being more deadly than the Islamic State. The world has shifted its attention to the Islamic State, and its insurgent activities in Belgium, France, etc.
Bono’s Nigeria campaign was aimed at stimulating the UN’s attention and support to help combat the malnutrition crisis. Campaigns against the Boko Haram insurgency have been localized, leaving a small number of activist gatherings in an effort to pressure President Buhari to settle the conflicts through peaceful talks with Boko Haram. However, negotiations between the Boko Haram group and Mr Buhari have been ineffective. The President has reached out to the United Nation’s intervention to help restart the talks with the terror group. The Nigerian government has been delaying the supply of food items as a strategy. In addition, the government is threatening to shut down the IDP refugee camps, an action that will force the victims to return to their ravaged communities. There, they will be forced to live with inadequate or no social services, with the possibility of fresh Boko Haram attacks. Nigeria needs tough decisions that would bring peace. It needs not just humanitarian aid, but also politically sound, non-evasive, solid efforts to reduce future calamities of terror, and something that will bind the population against potential leaders who wish to take advantage of the lugubrious state.