A seemingly resurgent Boko Haram has accelerated its attacks and is creeping back into villages it once occupied. Some internally displaced persons (IDPs) have gone home only to have to flee again. While the government retains control of urban areas once occupied by Boko Haram, after dark the jihadists are able to move about the countryside with apparent impunity.
The Buhari administration is undertaking renewed efforts to defeat—or at least, contain—Boko Haram. It has replaced the army general commanding the effort against Boko Haram. The governor of Borno state has announced implementation of a system of fortified hamlets, whereby the population would be protected from Boko Haram attacks—and from infection by Boko Haram’s ideology. In December, the Buhari administration announced an additional step, that it would spend at least one billion dollars on weapons and security equipment for the fight against Boko Haram.
According to the media, the funds will come from the excess crude account. This functions as a type of saving account. When oil sells on the world market at a price above the price on which the government budget is based, the difference is deposited in the excess crude account. The account “belongs” to the three tiers of Nigerian governance: federal, state, and local. This release of funds from the excess crude account was approved by the National Economic Council. That body is made up of the senior federal officials and state governors and is chaired by the vice president.
In the past, there has been a tendency in the south and east of the country to see Boko Haram as a “northern problem,” far away from the booming Lagos-Ibadan corridor or Port Harcourt. The fact that governors from around the country approved the disbursement from the excess crude account is a sign that Boko Haram is now seen as a national problem.