Security tops agenda as Nigeria’s Buhari meets Obama

Security was top of  the agenda when Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari met with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday as the newly elected president struggles against worsening violence from the terror group Boko Haram.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, salutes his supporters during his Inauguration in Abuja,
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, salutes his supporters during his Inauguration in Abuja,

Buhari’s election in March was a historic occasion for Nigeria, a country which had never had a peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected leader to another. He defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan largely on promises to expel Boko Haram and root out endemic corruption in the Nigerian government.

“[Boko Haram] will certainly loom large,” says J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. “Boko Haram has proved to be once again remarkably resilient and lethal.”

Jonathan made inroads against the group in the final months of his presidency, but Pham says the successes led the group to change its tactics, which in turn have made it more dangerous. Diminishing the group’s territorial control was a victory for the military coalition fighting it, but since then Boko Haram has shifted to carrying out more terrorist, guerrilla-style attacks. They’ve also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Just last week, 60 people were killed in two bombings in northern Nigeria. And, despite the transition in power, over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group over a year ago remain missing as the government failed to locate them.

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