Despite massive expenditure by the Nigerian government over the past decade, counter-terrorism operations by security forces have achieved limited success and the country is still ranked on the Global Terrorism Index as one of the states most affected by terrorism. Is the problem one of bad policy, strategy and tactics, or is corruption in the leadership ranks of the security forces also to blame?
It is estimated that terror groups have killed over 30 000 people in Nigeria since 2003, causing the displacement of more than 2.4 million people. These groups include Boko Haram, operating in the Lake Chad Basin region, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Ansaru, also called al-Qaeda in the Lands Beyond the Sahel.
In December 2019, ISWAP beheaded 11 Christian hostages to avenge the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by United States forces. In January this year the group killed the chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Lawan Andimi. It also kidnapped three university lecturers in Yola in eastern Nigeria, and carried out several coordinated attacks in Borno State.
Nigeria’s government allocated over N6.7 trillion to the security sector between 2010 and 2017 to strengthen its capacity for counter-terrorism operations. This amount doesn’t include extra budgetary allocations such as the US$1 billion the government borrowed in 2013 to fund counter-terrorism operations and the US$21 million approved for the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in June 2015.