That was thought to be the end of the Boko Haram threat. But its recent activities have shown that the group was only dormant, and rebuilding its capabilities so that it could return. Its bombings are now expected occurrences.
“Literally the concern in the north is when the next explosion is going to go off,” says Matthew Leonard, of Adatin Restore, a security consulting and VIP security firm based in Lagos. Leonard says the bombings have led to high demand for advanced bomb detection equipment, which was previously deployed only in a few high-risk embassies, like those of the American and British governments.
The United Nations says Boko Haram’s links to al Qaeda are a concern. One indication of that link is that the same tribes appear to supply both groups.
Boko Haram’s reemergence comes amid great civil disenchantment with the current government of President Goodluck Jonathan and as the country’s fragile democracy struggles to develop. After the government canceled subsidies on oil in January, gas prices skyrocketed, causing workers across the country to strike in protest. Workers refused to work until the subsidies were reinstated. The strike ended on January 16, after Jonathan agreed to cut fuel prices by one third. Four days later, Boko Haram bombed several government buildings. In the attacks, 185 people died, according to reports from African media agencies.
On January 25, five days after Boko Haram’s assault, Jonathan dismissed the country’s police chief and all of his deputies, blaming the police for failing to cap the violence. In addition, security forces raided known Boko Haram hideouts. But recent statements by Ade Adefuye, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, have downplayed the threat and spread of Boko Haram in an effort to attract investors.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s leading political parties, has been quoted as saying that the new government is clueless on how to tackle Boko Haram, calling it an irony that the government deployed troops to quell protests by unarmed citizens during the oil protests but “could not checkmate those who are posing a real threat to national security, leaving them to run amok.”