Nigeria Focus: The Plague of Boko Haram

Although Boko Haram have reportedly been in existence in Nigeria since 2002, they only truly began to cause havoc in the North, North – Eastern and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria through their military operations which began in 2009. They have been the cause of the religious conflicts going on in Nigeria for many years now.  And it is surprising that they were only officially recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States of America in 2013.

It has been reported that more than 15,000 people have been killed in Nigeria over the last 12 years in this conflict. Under the guidance of their devious leader Abubakar Shekau, they have not only wasted the lives of so many innocent people, but they have also carried out many atrocious acts. Their most haunting exploits are;

1.    The 2010 Nigerian Independence Day Attacks:
The car bombings at Eagle Square and other locations proximate to a Federal Government buildings in 2010 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; where large crowds were proudly celebrating their country’s 50th anniversary of independence. The attacks left 12 dead and 17 injured.

2.    The 2011 Abuja United Nations Bombing:
The 2011 Abuja bombing was a car bomb explosion on Friday, 26 August 2011 in the Nigerian capital Abuja’s UN building that killed at least 21 and wounded 60.

3.    The Nyanya Bus Park Bombings:
On the 14th of April, during morning rush hour, Abuja was hit by two bus blasts which killed 88 people and injured at least 200. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing six days after it occurred.


4.   The Kidnapping of the Chibok Girls:
On the night of the 14th of April till the early hours of Tuesday the 15th of April, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. The kidnappings were claimed by Boko Haram in a series of videos. One of which contained the militant leader Abubakar Shekau accepting the blame for the kidnappings and laughing when mentioning that he would sell them and marry them off.

As of 2nd of July, approximately 223 students are still missing. The Nigerian government and the military have been heavily criticised for failing to protect the population and end Boko Haram terrorist actions.

This episode was the cause of a massive social media campaign >> #BringBackOurGirls <<, which after long and truly heart wrenching protests and a move by the parents of the girls abducted, into the Sambisa forests in search of their daughters; it finally gained proper media coverage which took the world by storm. It was then that the world’s eyes were truly opened to the horrible things that the citizens of Nigeria and indeed foreigners in the area, have been victims of. We as an organisation also supported the movement during our Annual General Meeting in May.

5. Kummabza Kidnappings:
There was reportedly another mass kidnapping on Saturday the 28th of June where at least 60 women and girls along with 31 young men; have been kidnapped by gunmen in the village of Kummabza in Borno State. Although this incident reportedly occurred on that Saturday, the event only became news on the morning of the Emab Plaza Bombings.

6.    The Emab Plaza Bombings:
On Thursday the 26th of June, an explosion hit Abuja’s Emab Plaza, a crowded shopping centre just as people were getting ready to watch Nigeria play Argentina in the World Cup on the many TV sets for sale inside an Electrical store. At least 24 people were killed that day and dozens more were left seriously injured.


The organization seeks to establish a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia law and leaders, which they assume would put an end to what they deem to be Westernization. Their formal name is ‘Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad’ which translates to ‘The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad’. The name Boko Haram is just a nickname if you wish, which is Hausa (a Northern belt language in Nigeria) which actually means “Western education is sin”.

Ironically, they utilise the very same westernised instruments that they are seeking to ban, like social media to spread their propaganda and publish their claims.

What I find really sad is that although there are various incidences like the few mentioned above – occurring every month now it seems; we don’t really hear about it here. One of the reasons tends to be that there in a lack of suitable communication infrastructures in place for people to report these happenings especially in the North and North – Eastern parts of the country.
Another reason is sometimes what seems like a lack of interest on the part of the rest of the world in what is happening. After all, it took big public figures like Michelle Obama and other foreign, mostly American celebrities, to bring the #BringBackOurGirls campaign onto the world stage.

Some say that the main cause of their prosperity as a terrorist organisation within Nigeria is fuelled by the various political differences within the country and many of the facilitators or benefactors of the Boko Haram regime that fingers have been pointed at turn out to be politicians who have been tagged corrupt in many instances.
In all, I just hope and pray for the best for my country, especially since my family is there in Abuja.

Prayer Points

These are just a few prayer points that I would ask you pray for:
o    Ask God to protect His people and give them peace. Pray for an end to this violence and for God’s comfort for the bereaved and injured.
o    Pray Christians in Nigeria will demonstrate the love of Christ as they face opposition.
o    Pray for the cruelty and injustices of Sharia to be exposed.
o    Pray for the release of the Chibok Girls and the other women, girls and toddlers that were abducted last week.

About the Blogger:

Beulah Allotey is a 20 year old Nigerian studying in Ireland. She has just completed an Undergraduate degree in Law at Griffith College Dublin and is currently awaiting admissions to commence a Masters Degree programme in either International Relations, International Law and Human Rights, or International Security and Conflict.
Beulah has been living in Dublin for almost 4 years. She attends Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church and has been a member of YWCA Ireland since May 2013. Beulah became a national Board Member in September.
Beulah has a passion for Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law in general and the Human Rights aspect of the work of the YWCA along with the Christian perspective, motivated her to become a member of the association.

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