Following the international response over Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping of hundreds of school girls from the town of Chibok, the Obama administration and other partners offered assistance to Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan. However, cooperation never really got off the ground. The nadir was reached in December 2014 when Nigeria unilaterally cancelled a small U.S. military training mission.
Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari, has signaled openness to new security relations with Nigeria’s traditional western partners while affirming that Boko Haram is a Nigerian responsibility. The Obama administration should welcome the possibility of a closer relationship.
According to the U.S. media, Secretary of State John Kerry had a brief conversation with President Buhari on the margins of the May 29 inauguration. At the same time, anonymous State Department sources suggest that the U.S. could move quickly to supply advisers and enhanced intelligence sharing.
Underscoring the fact that Boko Haram is far from defeated, they carried out several attacks over the May 30-31 weekend in the city of Maiduguri in Borno state and Ngalda and Fika towns in Yobe state. These attacks emphasize the need for the new Buhari administration to move quickly.