NIGERIA – Africa’s gathering storm


The Hill | Fmr. Congressman Frank R. Wolf & Dr. Matthew Daniels | Sept. 21, 2019

Imagine if the largest nation in Europe was increasingly in the grip of violent militants committed to genocide. Having already seen that happen once in Germany, such a development would spark dire cries of alarm that would echo around the world.

So, why are we not more concerned about the gathering storm in Nigeria — the country with Africa’s largest population of more than 180,000 million people? According to the Global Terrorism Index, Nigeria is now so utterly dominated by terrorist violence that only Afghanistan and Iraq are worse. In fact, the Nigerian Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram has already killed more people than ISIS did during its entire existence in Iraq and Syria.

Boko Haram started engaging in widespread violence in 2009. In 2011, the group bombed the UN headquarters in the capital, Abuja, killing 23 people and injuring 116 others. By 2014, Boko Haram was the deadliest terrorist group in the world. In April of that year, Boko Haram garnered worldwide attention for kidnapping 276 Christian schoolgirls. The best the rest of the world could muster as a response was a #bringbackourgirls Twitter campaign. Five years later, more than 100 of them are still missing and all but forgotten.

Inspired by Boko Haram’s impunity, Muslim Fulani militants in the northeastern part of Nigeria have undertaken a campaign of mass slaughter against Christians, Shia Muslims, and traditional tribal religious groups. Fulani militant attacks and reprisals are responsible for more than 60,000 deaths since 2001. That, combined with the thousands more killed by Boko Haram, and the tens of thousands of Nigerian women and girls kidnapped and trafficked as sex slaves, and you have a genocide on your hands.