Boko Haram is the terrorist group that has abducted and enslaved at least 276 girls and young women in Nigeria around 10 months ago, and has grown stronger during the interim period. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s elections initially scheduled for 14th February has been deferred till 28th March, apparently to provide the government of President Goodluck enough time to beef up security in the country.
However, the delay in holding elections has been plagued with allegations of political interference due to Jonathan being in a neck to neck race against Muhammadu Buhari, the opposition candidate belonging to the northeastern region, the stronghold of Boko Haram. Refuting the allegations of interference, Jonathan hinted at improvement in the situation arising out of the actions of the terrorist group. The158 children and women abducted last December from the state of Yobe have reportedly been united with their families on Friday; though there have been differing views about the way freedom was gained. Military has claimed to have killed hundreds of militants, and recaptured 11 villages. However, the military claim could not be verified independently, and as per a Reuters’ report, military is apt to overestimate terrorists’ causalities and understate theirs’ and civilians’. The rise to power of Boko Haram from its status of a group of disenchanted Muslims to becoming a dreaded terrorist group has been accomplished within a short span of 5 years starting in 2009. After the April abduction, several schools have been raged to the ground, dozens of more people kidnapped, market places and mosques bombed, and villages destroyed by Boko Haram terrorists.
The grief of kidnapping at Chibok has to an extent united Nigeria, the most populous country of Africa with 177 million populations. However, economic disparity, politics, and religion still continue to divide Nigerians. The reactions of Jonathan to Boko Haram kidnapping of Chibok have been enigmatic; he danced at a public rally only the next day of kidnapping. Also, the military crackdown on Boko Haram activists failed to distinguish between terrorists and civilians, and it has further alienated Muslims in the north of the country. The intensity of international concerns has also waned in course of time, and due to the activities of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Boko Haram is presently one of the most dreaded terrorist outfits of the world, and has been termed as Islamic State of Africa. The group is able to get funds, logistic support, and weapons to strengthen and propel it.