Overview: The terrorist group Boko Haram carried out kidnappings, killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria, resulting in nearly 5,000 deaths, many injuries, tens of thousands of displaced civilians, and significant destruction of property in 2014. The states in which attacks occurred most frequently were Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states. Attacks were launched also in Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Niger, Plateau, Taraba states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). While Boko Haram did not claim responsibility for known attacks in the south of the country, it is widely believed the group was responsible for the early December prison break in Ekiti state, and a June bomb attack on the Apapa oil depot in Lagos State. In May, the Nigerian government renewed a state of emergency in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe. The state of emergency expired in November and was not renewed at year's end. Despite the increased military presence in the region, Boko Haram continued to attack schools and take over large and small towns and villages in Borno (including Bama and Gwoza), Adamawa (including Madagali and Michika), and Gombe states, as well as Buni Yadi and Gujba in Yobe.

In April, Boko Haram invaded a secondary school in Chibok in Borno state, where they kidnapped more than 275 young female students who were taking examinations – the group's largest mass kidnapping to date. Throughout the year, suspected Boko Haram members killed Nigerian government and security officials and civilians, including both Christians and Muslims.

The state of emergency provided the Nigerian government additional authorities to prosecute a military campaign against Boko Haram, including sweeping powers to search and arrest without warrants. The 7th Army Division, headquartered in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, remained in charge of the operations within Borno, while the 3rd Division became more active in Adamawa state following the significant upswing in activity there. Despite an increased security budget from the National Assembly and the wide arrest authority, the military was unable to repel Boko Haram's attacks on and control over several key towns in the Northeast. On more than one occasion, Boko Haram attackers forced the Nigerian military to retreat across the border into Cameroon.

The Nigerian government's efforts to address grievances among Northern populations, which include high unemployment and a dearth of basic services, made little progress. Some state governments in the North attempted to increase education and employment opportunities, with little support from the federal government. The United States called on the Nigerian government to employ a more comprehensive strategy to address Boko Haram that combines security efforts with political and development efforts to reduce Boko Haram's appeal, address legitimate concerns of the people of northern Nigeria, and protect the rights of all of Nigeria's citizens.

In April 2014, to assist with Nigeria's investigation and recovery efforts of the 275 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno State, the United States deployed an Interdisciplinary Assistance Team composed of personnel from DOD, USAID, the State Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The establishment of the Joint Coordination Fusion Cell (JCFC) and the Joint Coordination Planning Cell in May modestly improved coordination between the U.S. military and the Nigerian military and interagency coordination between the Nigerian security forces. However, such coordination was not seen between upper levels of the Nigerian military in the JCFC and commanders in the field.

Nigeria is one of six countries participating in the President's Security Governance Initiative (SGI) announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit. SGI focuses on the management, oversight, and accountability of the security sector at the institutional level.

2014 Terrorist Incidents: In 2014, Boko Haram expanded its attacks primarily in 10 northern states. The number of attacks by female suicide bombers increased in 2014. Notable terrorist incidents committed by Boko Haram included:

  • On January 14, 31 people were killed and 50 others injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in a crowded area near the main market in Maiduguri, Borno state.

  • On February 16, a group of 100 armed persons believed to be Boko Haram rounded up and shot men in the village of Izghe in Borno state. A total of 107 persons were killed in the attack, which was labeled the "Izghe Massacre."

  • On February 25, 59 boys were killed in their dormitories at the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi in Yobe state. The female students were allowed to escape. Although no group formally claimed responsibility, Boko Haram is suspected to have carried out the attack.

  • On March 14, Boko Haram attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state, where suspected Boko Haram members were detained. Approximately 600 prisoners were freed in the attack, which was filmed in a video released by the group.

  • On April 14, Boko Haram attacked a girls' secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, and, according to the Nigerian police, abducted 276 girls. Of these, 57 students escaped while being transported to a remote camp. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau stated in a video that the girls were considered "spoils of war" and would become brides of Boko Haram members.

  • Also on April 14, two devices placed in vehicles were detonated in a motor park in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, in the FCT. The blasts killed approximately 100 persons with more than 200 injured.

  • On May 20, two explosions at a busy market area in Jos, Plateau state, killed 118 people, according to officials.

  • On June 2, Boko Haram attacked the Local Government Area (LGA) of Gwoza in Borno State and killed more than 200 residents of three communities.

  • On July 2, 56 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a busy market area of Maiduguri.

  • On July 4, approximately 200 members of Boko Haram attacked the Damboa LGA in Borno state, destroying the divisional police headquarters, markets, homes, and vehicles. The attackers used IEDs, rocket propelled grenades, and anti-aircraft weapons to attack the Nigerian Army's 7th Division. Officials stated that 12 soldiers, three police officers, and four civilians were killed.

  • On July 28, a female suicide bomber in Kano killed three people and injured seven others.

  • On July 30, a female suicide bomber killed two students at Kano State Polytechnic in Kano.

  • On August 6, Boko Haram fighters captured the town of Gwoza in Borno, killed up to 100 people, and burned down the divisional police headquarters, the LGA secretariat, and other public buildings.

  • On September 6, Boko Haram took control of the town of Gulak in Adamawa state and killed nearly 40 residents.

  • On September 9, Boko Haram attacked the town of Hong in Adamawa and killed more than 100 residents, according to police.

  • On October 30, Boko Haram took control of Mubi in Adamawa after Nigerian soldiers fled the town in anticipation of the raid. Officials stated several residents were killed, but no casualty figures were released.

  • On November 10, a suicide bomber dressed as a student detonated a bomb at a boys' school in Potiskum, Yobe state. Police believed Boko Haram carried out the attack, which left 47 people dead, including the suicide bomber, and 79 persons wounded.

  • On November 25, two female suicide bombers killed at least 30 people in a crowded Maiduguri market in Borno. The first bomber set off her explosives and killed several persons; when others gathered around the scene, the second bomber blew herself up, killing about 30.

  • On November 28, three bombs were detonated in an armed raid on the Central Mosque and other locations in Kano. More than 100 people were killed and over 120 injured. Several others were killed when police opened fire to disperse the crowd.

  • On December 10, at least four people were killed and seven injured in a double attack by two young female suicide bombers near a market in Kano. Boko Haram militants are suspected of being behind the attacks.

  • On December 13, more than 175 women and children were kidnapped and 35 people were killed by Boko Haram militants in the village of Gumsuri, Borno state.

  • On December 25, a suicide bomber rammed into a military checkpoint in Bajoga, Gombe state, but failed to detonate his IED. The bomber was apprehended by police while trying to escape.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In April, President Goodluck Jonathan directed the Nigerian National Security Advisor to coordinate and promulgate the National Counterterrorism Strategy (NACTEST), which was made public in November. In 2012, the Terrorism (Prevention) Act was revised, and in February 2013 the revisions were enacted into law. The law appointed the National Security Advisor as the coordinator for all counterterrorism intelligence activities and the attorney general as the lead official for enforcement.

The Nigerian government's criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2014, although several donor countries, including the UK, worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritizing how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorism cases.

Several Nigerian government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and the Ministry of Justice. The Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in northeastern Nigeria. While the counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), the level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited.

The Nigerian government participated in U.S. counterterrorism capacity building through the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, including the training of more than 120 NPF members in the detection and handling of IEDs. This increased the NPF's awareness and capacity to protect and preserve evidence from the crime scene of a suspected terrorist act. Through the ATA program, Nigerian police, customs officials, and immigration officers also participated in interagency rural border patrol training to build the law enforcement sector's ability to utilize effectively all agencies in tackling rural border security challenges. The Nigerian government worked with the U.S. FBI to investigate specific terrorism matters.

The Government of Nigeria instituted the collection of biometric data for passport applications of all Nigerian citizens and upgraded the Nigerian machine-readable passports. Screening at the ports of entry of major airports in Nigeria, including Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano, improved, with passenger name records being collected in advance for commercial flights. Border security at rural and extended land borders with Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad was vulnerable to exploitation by Boko Haram.

Among the problems that deterred or hindered more effective law enforcement and border security by the Nigerian government were a lack of coordination and cooperation between Nigerian security agencies; a lack of biometrics collection systems and the requisite data bases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of a timely arraignment of suspected terrorist detainees; and lack of sufficient training for prosecutors and judges to understand and carry out the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended).

Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups in 2014 included:

  • Aminu Ogwuche, the alleged planner of the April 14 Nyanya motor park bombing, was arrested in Sudan and extradited to Nigeria. He has been in custody since his extradition, and on November 10 requested bail in the Federal High Court. A bail hearing was rescheduled for November 24, when the Federal High Court reportedly ruled against the two count indictment against Ogwuche. The NPF, through its Interpol office, was involved in the extradition of Ogwuche but DSS is the investigating and prosecuting agency. Ogwuche remained in DSS custody at year's end.

  • The case against Nigerians Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and Saidi Adewumi, charged under Section 5(1) and 8 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2013 with recruiting terrorists, remained pending. A six-count charge by the Nigerian government stated the subjects traveled to Iran and rendered support to a terrorist group via provision of materials and terrorism training on use of firearms and other weapons. The two were said to have collected the sum of US $23,350 from the terrorist group in order to source and train terrorist-minded Nigerians fluent in English.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Nigeria is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Nigerian government froze and confiscated terrorist assets as designated by U.S. Executive Orders and by UN Security Council Resolutions; however, delays – up to a few weeks in duration – sometimes occurred. While there was political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally caused delays of up to four weeks before authorities blocked these assets. This is a risk because of the possibility that those whose assets may be frozen will have time to transfer them to other jurisdictions. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Throughout 2014, Nigeria participated in ministerial-level international meetings to address insecurity in northeast Nigeria – first held in Paris in May, then London in June, and lastly in Abuja in September. The effort was concentrated on ensuring a coordinated response to the threat Boko Haram presents to the region. While dialogue between Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Benin, and Nigeria focused on strengthening regional cooperation, the countries took only minimal steps in 2014 to increase cooperation or interoperability of their security forces. In August, the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit was stood up in Abuja to increase intelligence sharing between the countries' external services. Talks remained ongoing through the Lake Chad Basin Commission to enhance the existing multinational task force to coordinate military action along the border regions. Nigeria is also a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).

In 2014, the Nigerian government participated in or hosted several multilateral efforts. In January, Nigeria and the United States co-hosted in Abuja a Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Sahel Working Group on the Criminal Justice Sector and Rule of Law. In November in Abuja, the United States and Nigeria co-hosted the GCTF workshop on Prison Security Issues and Implementation of the Rome Memorandum. Nigeria was an active participant in other GCTF events in the region.

Nigeria, primarily through its ONSA, took a lead role in continuing a multilateral dialogue among regional countries – including through GCTF and TSCTP activities – on how to better coordinate regional efforts to confront networks of terrorist groups that span international borders. The Nigerian government has not invested significant resources or time enlisting regional organizations such as the Economic Organization of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States to assist with the Boko Haram problem, instead preferring to engage in direct, unilateral military action.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: In March, the ONSA officially announced a program to counter violent extremism, including educational and employment opportunities and de-radicalization of former Boko Haram members, as well as detained terrorist members.

In 2014, several projects were funded by the TSCTP, including:

  • A program to protect the human rights and security of almajiri children in northern Nigeria. The program works closely with Kano state government authorities to respond to the challenges facing street children in Kano who are vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups.

  • A program to reinforce "Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation" efforts that will carry out training with youth, women, traditional leaders, and religious leaders on conflict transformation skills; and will organize media campaigns to promote conflict transformation strategies in four northern states – Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, and Taraba.

  • A program to develop "Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement in Northern Nigeria through English Language Training," focusing on at-risk youth in the Kano-Kaduna corridor.


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