May 2, 2014
Nicholas Ibekwe, PremiumTimes
Some state governments in the North attempted to increase education and employment opportunities, but with almost no support from the Federal Government.”
The United States government has said the Federal Government has not done enough to check the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
The U.S. also accused the federal government of not matching the efforts by northern state governments to promote education in the area.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of State published on Wednesday, the Federal Government has failed in tackling “the grievances among northern populations.”
The report, US Bureau of Counterterrorism 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, an annual assessment of trends and events in international terrorism, says the government has been unsuccessful in tackling the high rate of unemployment and the lack of basic services in the region.
“The government of Nigeria’s efforts to address grievances among northern populations, which includes high unemployment and a dearth of basic services, made little progress. Some state governments in the North attempted to increase education and employment opportunities, but with almost no support from the Federal Government,” the report stated.
The report advised the Federal Government “to employ a more comprehensive strategy to address Boko Haram that combines security efforts with political and development efforts to reduce Boko Haram’s appeal, address the legitimate concerns of the people of northern Nigeria, and protect the rights of all of Nigeria’s citizens.”
The report noted that the Boko Haram insurgency that has spread across the northern region is now taking on an international scale, with its activities spreading to neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
Poor Inter-agency Cooperation
The report frowned at the shoddy execution of the war against Boko Haram. It particularly pointed at poor inter-agency collaboration and sharing of intelligence as a major hindrance to the fight against the insurgents.
“Several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Nigerian Department of State Security the National Police Force and the Ministry of Justice. It is important to note that the Nigerian military had the primary responsibility for combating terrorism in north-eastern Nigeria. While the counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser, the level of inter-agency cooperation and information sharing was limited,” it stated.
The report also stated that Nigeria’s weak criminal justice system is a factor in the spread of the insurgency.
“The Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2013, although several donor countries, including the UK, worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritising how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorist cases.
“Among the problems that deterred or hindered more effective law enforcement and border security by the Nigerian government were: a lack of coordination and cooperation between Nigerian security agencies; a lack of biometrics collection systems and the requisite data bases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of a timely arraignment of suspected terrorist detainees; and lack of sufficient training for prosecutors and judges to understand and carry out the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended).”
The Boko Haram insurgency has led to the death of thousands of people since 2009. The sect has attacked schools, government buildings, security formations, religious houses, public places and others in Northern Nigeria and has also been involved in kidnapping.
Over 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the sect members on April 14 in Borno. Majority of them have not been seen amidst outrage by Nigerians that the government should do more to ensure the girls are freed.