Ensure that under my watch no force, external or internal, will occupy even an inch of Nigerian soil
- When made: 2015
- Where made: My Covenant with Nigerians
Recent attacks in 2018, including the abduction of over 100 schoolgirls in March suggest the terrorist group remains potent. However, they are not reported to have seized any other town since Buhari became president in 2015.
A military campaign supervised by the previous administration weeks before the 2015 elections helped push back the group from its strongholds, allowing for the holding of elections in previously occupied towns.
'You cannot give a timeline'
But as we have reported before, the last embers of the group are still to be stamped out. A database by Nigeria Security Watch shows more than 400 Boko Haram-related deaths in 2018 alone.
Though Boko Haram have not captured towns since 2015, they certainly still occupy portions of Nigeria’s territory because they operate from a base, ex-director of the department of state security, Mike Ejiofor, told Africa Check.
Ejiofor, now a security consultant, said the only real evidence of progress made so far against Boko Haram is that their operation has been restricted to the north-east, mainly Borno State.
“The Boko Haram insurgency is an asymmetric war. You cannot give a timeline to it. Many countries have fought insurgency and terrorism for several years. North Ireland fought it for over 26 years; Pakistan, Iraq and Iran are still fighting [it],” he said.
As early as December 2015, Buhari’s administration announced that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated”. But by May 2018 the government had changed the narrative about the state of Boko Haram to “degraded”.
It made some progress in the fight against Boko Haram; negotiating the release of some of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok and Dapchi. However, a faction of Boko Haram, which renamed itself as Islamic State’s West Africa Province launched a number of attacks on military bases, killing soldiers and civilians, including humanitarian aid workers.
- Africa Check, February 2019