Nigeria. According to COUNTRYAAH, Abuja is the capital of Nigeria which is located in Western Africa. The presidential and parliamentary elections left their mark on the political year and could be carried out despite the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram’s continued attack.
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The March 28 presidential election became historic as it was the first democratic power shift since independence in 1960. Former Army general Muhammadu Buhari received nearly 54% of the vote with his promises of change. Seated President Goodluck Jonathan gained just over 45%, but acknowledged being defeated before the final bill was finalized. International election observers felt that the election was largely free.
Some problems were reported on Election Day, and the election had to be extended by a day when the machines that would read the biometric voting cards failed in some quarters. Boko Haram attacked several polling stations in the Northeast, killing 41 people. The election had been postponed for six weeks due to the security situation.
At the same time elections were held for Parliament. Here, too, the opposition party won the Progress Congress (APC) which nominated Buhari. In the lower house, APC won 212 out of 340 seats while the People’s Democracy Party (PDP), which has ruled since the military rule ceased in 1999, received 140. Eight seats were distributed among small parties. In the upper house, the APC took home 60 seats against the PDP’s 48. Buhari swore in on May 29 and repeated his election promise that he would crush Boko Haram. Other key issues for Buhari, who led a military government in 1983–85, were to curb corruption and create more jobs for the young population.
After taking office, Buhari re-furnished the military leadership and replaced the board of the scandalous state oil company NNPC. Large sums and amounts of oil have disappeared from the company over the years. Fuel shortages and power outages continued to plague the country. As part of increased transparency, Buhari also reported his personal assets, which showed that he had $ 150,000 in his private accounts. Buhari was criticized for delaying the appointment of his government, which was first sworn in in November. Low oil prices are becoming a challenge for British-born banker Kemi Adeosun, who was appointed finance minister. Buhari kept the oil minister’s portfolio.
Boko Haram’s wave of violence continued during the year. One of the group’s worst individual attacks was carried out in January against the city of Baga in the state of Borno. Up to 2,000 people may have been killed. But the figures were uncertain, said human rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which analyzed satellite images and interviewed survivors. In March, Boko Haram swore allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
The military offensive initiated under Jonathan continued. In June, Buhari and leaders from Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin agreed to form a regional force to fight Boko Haram. Pressed on several fronts, Boko Haram responded with a series of bloody suicide attacks to marketplaces, mosques and other targets with hundreds of dead. Many were performed by young girls and women. The uncertain security situation has resulted in over 2 million people being internally displaced in northeastern Nigeria, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Amnesty stated that Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and young girls since the beginning of 2014. The security forces have also been accused of assaulting civilians.
The World Health Organization WHO announced in September that polio was no longer endemic in Nigeria. As late as 2012, the country accounted for half of the world’s polio cases.
The borders with Benin are opened
Four border crossings between Nigeria and Benin will open after being closed since August 2019 (see 15 August 2019). The closure would prevent the smuggling of rice and other foodstuffs to Nigeria. In an attempt to promote domestic production, there is a continued import ban on rice and chicken. Cross-border trade is crucial for the people of both countries.
Hundreds of boys are abducted from school
More than 100 armed men on motorcycles storm a boys’ school in the community of Kankara, in northwestern Nigeria. The school boarding school has 839 boys. Many manage to escape, but just over 330 of them are taken away during the attack. A few days later, the infamous terrorist organization Boko Haram assumes responsibility. The jihadist group, which has so far only been active in the northeastern parts of Nigeria, is said to have hired three local gangs of gangs to carry out the school attack in the name of the organization. Authorities and experts are concerned that Boko Haram is spreading its insurgency to a new region. After less than a week in captivity, the boys are released. It is not entirely clear if everyone who was kidnapped has been released.
Crimes must be investigated by the ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to launch a preliminary investigation into suspected crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Nigeria. The prosecutor will mainly look at crimes that the Islamist group Boko Haram is said to be behind, but the ICC will also investigate crimes for which the country’s security service is accused.