- Scenes from Kabul in the last 24 hours have sent shivers down the spine of the world as people watch the Taliban take over in Afghanistan
- In Nigeria, there is apprehension among some people who believe terrorists operating in the country might be motivated by the Taliban
- The situation in both countries is, however, very different and have no similarities in terms of the religious, cultural and governance structures
FCT, Abuja - The world woke up to the news that the Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul on Sunday, August 15 after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, leaving the country.
The Associated Press reports that heavily armed Taliban fighters fanned out across the capital, and several entered Kabul’s abandoned presidential palace.
As the news spread like wildfire across the world, many Nigerians fear the same fate may befall the country due to the activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP).
A Nigerian wrote on Instagram:
Do you have a groundbreaking story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org!
“It's always a gradual process. Nigeria is already heading down the same hill. Considering that in some places in the north, bandits are getting paid..2023 will be the year of truth.”
“Taliban is just like Boko Haram. They are ruthless. They are not even practicing Islam. Just a bunch of wicked people. If care is not taken Boko Haram can do the same here.
“While it is natural for some Nigerians to express concern over the situation in Afghanistan and if it will be replicated here, the scenario in both countries is not the same.”
Legit.ng lists 4 reasons why Boko Haram cannot take over Abuja as the Taliban did in Kabul.
1. Nigeria has a stronger military
The scenario in Kabul cannot play out in Nigeria. Since 2015, the Nigerian military has largely degraded Boko Haram fighters and restricted their activities to the fringes of the northeast region where they carry out surprise attacks and go back to their shell. In recent times, many of the terrorists have started surrendering due to the superior firepower of the Nigerian military.
2. Nigeria is a multi-religious country
Islam is the official religion of Afghanistan and the majority of the population is Muslim (approximately 99.7%). There are some very small residual communities of other faiths, including Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and Baha'i. In Nigeria, the population is estimated to be 53.5% Muslim, 45.9% Christian, and 0.6% other traditional religions. This means terrorist groups will have a hard time co-opting citizens into their agenda either through force or subtle persuasion.
TIMELINE: Boko Haram killings, kidnapping, herdsmen crisis; top violent incidents that threatened Nigeria’s peace within 7 days (Nov 17 to 23)
3. Nigeria is stable
While Afghanistan has battled to stay united and stable in the last two decades, Nigeria has witnessed stability since returning to democratic rule in 1999. There has been change of governments severally and despite the isolated violence before, during, and after elections, the country has come out stronger and united.
4. Legitimate government
Unlike in Afghanistan where many still struggled to accept the US-backed government, and some others sympathetic to the Taliban, the Nigerian government is a legitimate government elected by a majority of Nigerians through elections.
Meanwhile, former US president, Donald Trump has called on his successor, Joe Biden to step down from his post due to the crisis in Afghanistan.
Trump said the situation would have been much different if he was still the president of the United States.
He said in a statement:
“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan.”