Obama assents new U.S. law to help tackle Boko Haram

Photo credit: The Peak
Photo credit: The Peak

An analysis of factors that have helped Boko Haram fester and recruit must come to grips with issues of poor socio-economic environment and access to justice in Nigeria’s north-east, the United States has said.

The U.S. issued the position in a new law, S. 1632 – ‘An Act to require a regional strategy to address the threat posed by Boko Haram’ – signed into law by outgoing American President, Barack Obama, last week.

“It is the sense of the Congress that lack of economic opportunity and access to education, justice and other social services contribute to the ability of Boko Haram to radicalize and recruit individuals,” said the U.S. in the new law obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.

Nigeria’s north-east is the worst among the country’s regions affected by development concerns caused by years of mismanagement and corruption.

The north-east has the highest poverty rate in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the region’s poverty rate is above the national average of 60.9 per cent.

The region consists of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe states.  It has a history of chronic underdevelopment in terms of illiteracy, poverty, widespread drug abuse and joblessness.

Coming into its ninth year of active insurgency, Boko Haram has killed thousands of people, devastated infrastructure and displaced millions of people who now face acute humanitarian crisis.

Boko Haram
Boko Haram

According to the United Nations in September, “49,000 of the 244,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno State would die over the coming 12 months, translating to about 134 every day (if nothing is done).

“Some 65,000 people are in famine-like conditions, the worst level of food insecurity, and facing starving to death for lack of food.  It is a very unique situation in the world.”

But Nigeria’s government said the UN was exaggerating the situation in the North-east.

To address the problems provoked by Boko Haram and combat the terrorism with lasting measures, Nigeria’s government and the country’s neighbours must “accept and address the legitimate grievances of vulnerable populations affected by Boko Haram,” said the U.S., in evolving strategies to help Nigeria combat the terrorist group through the new law.

According to the law, the counter-terrorism strategy must follow “a means for assisting Nigeria, and as appropriate, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to combat Boko Haram, to counter violent extremism, including efforts to address the underlying factors shown to contribute to the ability of Boko Haram to radicalize and recruit individuals.”

The law also provides for plans to enhance the capacity of Nigeria’s MNJTF partner nations to investigate and prosecute human right abuses by security forces; promote respect for the rule of law within the military; and prevent corruption.

Former military and security chiefs, including former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, are under investigation and prosecution for allegedly misappropriating funds meant to purchase arms and cater for welfare of soldiers deployed to combat Boko Haram. And there have been accusations of rights violations – though denied – made against Nigeria’s military.

The U.S. law also provides that the American government should, “pursuant to existing authorities and restrictions”, help enhance the military capacity of Nigeria and partner nations, including Chad, Niger and Cameroon, to combat Boko Haram.

It also provides that Nigeria should be helped in terms of “long-term capacity to enhance security for schools such that children are safer and girls seeking education are protected, and to combat gender-based violence and inequality.”

The strategies, the law provides, should form elements of a five-year plan to be submitted to U.S. Congress within 180 days by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

Then, the Director of the US National Intelligence should assess “the willingness and capacity” of Nigeria and regional partners to implement the plan and submit a report on the assessment to Congress, the law further provides.

Specifically, the law seeks assessment of Nigeria’s readiness to address socio-economic factors that help Boko Haram fester and “legitimate grievances” of populations affected by the group.

Although the law provides that the U.S. should militarily assist Nigeria and her regional partners, there is no specific provision to sell arms to Nigeria.


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  • bigbang

    Nigeria should implement Nigeria plan. The US can ask us how they can help us implement Nigeria plan.

  • Decimator

    Thank heavens this fellow is vacating the White House soonest. Obama and his officials just lacked what it takes to understand and initiate meaningful strategies to African problems. This he complicated by holding back and not really trying to engage Africa and its leaders at all in discussions of interest to the continent.

    After being preoccupied with manipulating the American Aids system to poor countries in exchange for their acceptance of his Same sex law(which actually equates to third world corruption by the way), he is now suddenly realizing that extreme poverty is a much more bigger problem to not only the North east but most African Nations. He all along had forgotten that it is he who is alive and could feed himself that could talk of marriage in the first place, to whom and which gender notwithstanding.

    If he had ever bordered to engage Africa and African leaders rather than avoiding them, he world have known long ago that the solution to the North east problem and Boko Haram is not as simple as extrapolating his change mantra to Nigerian politics and making a personal video campaigning to bring in Mohammadu Buhari to sort out the problem of Boko Haram.

    Now realizing their mistake, good governance has suddenly become their priority as a lasting solution to curbing Boko Haram, even as they seem to avoid details of how we get to that good governance.

    Well Mr. Obama the people you worked assiduously hard to usher in as Nigerian government have been the same upholders of the Status quo, the same perpetual leaders mostly emanating from the same North east you are talking of, that created and maintained the human exploitative Almajiri structure and have over the years instituted that as the official governance principle.

    The hopelessness and desperateness they instigated on majority of their populace, is what they are taking advantage of to present themselves to you as the messiahs of the down trodden, which however they intentionally created in the first place.

    I should presume that it is naturally understandable that desperatness is the precursor of all forms of radicalism, manipulated or natural. Thanks

    • Otile

      Don’t say that Obama did not engage African leaders in this particular case. Since Imam assumed power Obama has been shelling good money towards Boko Haram. He has on several occasions sent Secretary Kerry to meet with Northern leaders. A horde of Northern leaders have been invited to US to smooch with US authorities, and vice versa. When having bilateral talks with US nowadays Northern Nigerian leaders totally ignore the South as if the South does not count.

      Unfortunately, nothing tangible comes out of those talks and engagements. Nigeria is at an edge now caused by Northern rulers. Apparently Obama has tried his best and all was in vain. We would like Honorable Trump to try some policy that works, if possible to separate the sheep from the goat. Amalgamation has not worked for Nigeria. The South should not perish to support the Islamic inclinations of the North.

    • bala

      Thank you Sir for your rants I believe you had a meaningful sleep last couple of nights. Your assertions were quite not in conformity with realities other than your hatredness of good governance. It is unfortunate you are not yet caught with your fellow looters of the last government, but the reality of the issue is that the US government is a civilised one thats more patriotic and willing to help poor nations like Nigeria. Yet people like you are opposed to the truth.

      • Decimator

        The usual claim; It is either contrary views are driven by hatred or sponsored by the opposition party.

        You are wellcomed to state in your own opinion what you deem to be the realities. OK

  • Akangbe A.

    Keep your help with yourself because in few month time you will need help more than sodom and gomorah

    • Pat

      You really can’t see beyond your nose. Obama will for ever remain one of the world leaders. In fact, the best in the recent time. Hope you heard what the incoming US president said about him.

  • A Aminu

    Nigerian government should be ashamed of the statement that UN is exergeration good the situation in the north east. What would the UN gain in exergerating the situation. The government gains more in acting the situation is real.

  • Solomon Brown

    Nobody and I repeat nobody can help you anymore than you can help yourself. This goes out to everyone in power, just like gravity, whatever goes up surely comes back down. There’s a God and unlike man He don’t sleep.

  • Nicolas

    US govt offers no free gift. They will rather arm Boko haram.