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SECURITY SITUATION IN NIGERIA - SECURITY CRISIS AND ACTIVITIES OF BOKO HARAM

 Nigeria is currently facing an unprecedented security crisis. A former British colony and the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria is divided into two regions: the larger, predominantly Muslim North with a more dispersed population, and the geographically smaller but more densely populated Christian South. Having experienced one military coup after another, Nigeria now has an elected leadership. However, the issue of corruption only made the ever-present threat to peace and development of the country worse. The Nigerian government faces not only a growing threat of breaking apart along ethnic and religious lines and increasing poverty, but also an alarming escalation of violent extremism and terrorism.

Blaming Western influencesfor the corruption of the Nigerian government and police force, Mohammed Yusuf created the extremist group Boko Haram (meaning Western education is forbidden) in 2002, with the goal of creating an Islamic State. Members of this group have opposed Westernization of Nigerian society and supported strict implementation of Sharia law, promoting a version of Islam which makes it "haram", or forbidden, for Muslims to vote in elections, wear shirts and trousers, or receive a secular education.

Over the years, Boko Harams influence has spread not only in its base in north-eastern Nigeria, but also the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The group swore formal allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2015.

Ranked as the worlds deadliest terror group in 2015 by the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram has not only burned villages, committed beheading, rapes of women and young girls, abductions, and murders, but has also carried out many terrorist attacks, the most infamous being the 2011 Abuja United Nations building bombing, the 2014 Chibok kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls, and the 2015 Baga massacre, during which reportedly over 2,000 people died and 17 towns were completely destroyed.

In addition to the 2.6 million people currently displaced because of ongoing violence, 2.2 million people are trapped in areas under the control of Boko Haram and are in need of humanitarian assistance. 190,000 refugees escaped to neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The Nigerian governments response to this crisis has been criticized as ineffective. Two and a half years after the Chibok kidnapping, the government described the failed efforts to negotiate for their release, and the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has only recently asked the UN to help by mediating with Boko Haram for the schoolgirlsrelease.

The Security Council has strongly condemned the violence and humanitarian abuse committed by Boko Haram, and continues to support the governments of Nigeria and the neighboring countries, especially their efforts against the group through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), a military coalition between Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. However, even this coalition has not yielded the desired result of stopping Boko Haram.

 As an extremely dangerous and constantly growing terror group, Boko Haram is not only threatening the lives of millions of Nigerians, but also the entire region of West Africa. The Security Council has expressed deep concern and called for immediate action by the global community to jointly put an end to the terror caused by Boko Haram.

*   What steps can be taken by the global community in order to put an end to Boko Haram and bring back peace to Nigeria and the neighboring countries?

*   Should the global community side with the existing forces fighting against Boko Haram or organize a completely new initiative?

* What measures should be taken to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region?

*   In what way can the global community fight against the combined forces of Boko Haram and ISIL?

* What can be done in the long run to prevent Boko Haram from ever regaining momentum and recruiting new fighters?

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