Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Contextualizing the Boko Haram Insurgency in Northern Nigeria and U.N. Millennium Development Goals

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Contextualizing the Boko Haram Insurgency in Northern Nigeria and U.N. Millennium Development Goals

Article excerpt


In September 2000, leaders from 189 member states of the United Nations came together for the Millennium Summit where they endorsed the Millennium Declaration and agreed on a vision and commitment to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as a framework for development planning for countries around the world. To assist these countries, especially the developing nations, to monitor progress towards achieving the MDGs by 2015, the United Nations system, including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), identified peace and security (i.e., an environment devoid of war, conflicts, insecurity and terrorism) as ultimate catalysts for realisation of the MDGs (United Nations, 2013; UNDP, 2013; Brown, 2003). The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals, which aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and women empowerment; reduce child mortality rates; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.

Nigeria is one of the 189 nations that endorsed the MDGs in 2000, but she did not initiate any concrete policy or programme towards achieving these goals until 2004 when she adopted the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the Local Government Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (LEEDS). NEEDS and LEEDS both seek to create wealth and generate employment; reduce poverty, hunger and diseases; reduce child and maternal mortality, promote gender equality and women empowerment; and increase children enrolment in school, amongst other. These initiatives are well placed to make important contributions in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Despite these efforts to integrate the MDGs into national development strategies, the constitutional responsibility for implementing almost all the MDGs rests with the states and local governments, whiles the political commitment to attain the goals by 2015, remains a policy drive and responsibility of the Federal government.

However, though the United Nations Millennium Development Goals marked a strong commitment to the right to development, however the terrorist activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in northern Nigeria continues to deliver spiralling and devastating effects on the possible realisation of the goals by 2015, because no meaningful development can be achieved in an environment threatened by unceasing conflicts, insecurity and terrorist activities.

Boko Haram, is a violent jihad terrorist organization that has spread across northern Nigeria. The group became known internationally as a terrorist group following its sectarian violence in Nigeria, which left over 1000 people dead at once (Wikipedia 2011). Since its inception, over 10,000 people have been reportedly killed by the group (Sanni 2011).

The group engages in suicide bombing and in the use of sophisticated weapons and poisonous bows and arrows. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks specifically targeting police, military formations and facilities, government offices and international agencies like the United Nations offices, banks, innocent civilians, religious leaders, churches, mosques, schools, bars and club houses amongst other. The group upholds a virulent anti-secular/anti-western agenda, with a hard line ideology opposing any interaction with the west.

The term "Boko Haram" is derived from Hausa and Arabic language. In Hausa "boko" means "fake," which has been largely consigned to western education because when western education was introduced to Hausa land, the Islamic clerics rejected it and gave it a derogatory connotation as "fake education" (Sanni 2011). …

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