Boko Haram looms large in Nigeria, says John Campbell

Boko Haram looms large in Nigeria, says John Campbell

- John Campbell, a former U.S ambassador to Nigeria, says Boko Haram looms large in Nigeria

- Campbell made the assertion in a piece he wrote on the council of foreign relations website on Thursday, June 11

- The diplomat said Nigerian security services are struggling with a general breakdown of law and order in the country

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John Campbell, a former U.S ambassador to Nigeria and expert on the country's council of foreign relations, says Boko Haram looms large in Nigeria.

Campbell made the assertion in a piece he wrote on the council of foreign relations website on Thursday, June 11.

Boko Haram looms large in Nigeria, says John Campbell

File photo of Nigerian soldiers on the battle front against Boko Haram. Photo credit: Nigerian Army
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According to him, “even amid the pandemic, all Boko Haram factions have rejected the notion of a truce with the Nigerian government, which they see as an agency of evil.

“Jihadi rhetoric portrays the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, as God’s punishment of their enemies.

“There is no credible information about the presence of the virus among jihadis themselves.”

He went on to write that Nigerian security services are struggling with a general breakdown of law and order in the country.

His words: “The pandemic and the economic consequences of fighting it have exacerbated - but did not cause- the nationwide erosion of security.

“The Nigerian army was already overstretched before the arrival of COVID-19, with the country beset by conflict in the northeast, where Boko Haram is active.

“The confrontation over land and water has driven intercommunal attacks, and kidnappings and cattle-rustling operations have increased.

“The army is stationed in nearly all of Nigeria’s thirty-six states, in many cases doing the work of police forces, which are poorly trained, overstretched, and under-resourced.”

He noted that as COVID-19 spread in Nigeria, the military had the added responsibility of enforcing lockdowns across the country.

“The fall in oil prices spurred by the global response to COVID-19 has probably had a greater impact on the government’s fight against jihadis.

“More than 60 per cent of government revenue and more than 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange come from oil. The catastrophic price drop over the past three months has sharply cut into government revenue.

“This comes at a time when the government faces heavy expenses to acquire medical equipment and set up testing facilities.

“With public health demands and the fall in government revenue, chronic underfunding of the security services is likely to get worse, reducing the capacity to fight jihadi groups,” Campbell wrote.

Meanwhile, a group, Nigeria Arise Against Crime (NAAC) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the current military chiefs to save Nigeria and his administration from the embarrassment of losing several lives to insurgents and banditry on a daily basis.

The group made the call on Thursday, June 4 in Abuja at a press conference addressed by its national coordinator, Dr Yusuf Kazeem.

According to Kazeem, the continued retention of the security chiefs is “a disservice to the nation's security framework.”

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