On Friday, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, claimed Boko Haram attacks in the country have been restricted to Borno state since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015.
While speaking at the commencement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign for the 2019 elections, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, Amaechi who is the director-general of the APC presidential campaign council, said the APC had made progress in securing the country, especially with regards to the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to the minister, “Nigerians would agree that before we came to power, as governor of Rivers state, I could not sleep in Kano. I was asked to leave back to Abuja. Nigerians would agree that Kano was attacked, Abuja was attacked, since we got to government to now, any attack from Boko Haram has always been in Borno and not outside Borno. So have we made any improvement in security? The answer is yes.”
CLAIM ONE: BOKO HARAM ATTACKS HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED TO BORNO SINCE 2015
TheCable reviewed numerous reports including news stories by this newspaper and other credible news organisations as well as researches and studies conducted and discovered that contrary to Amaechi’s claim, the insurgents have carried out more than 100 attacks outside Borno – even if restricted to just Nigeria.
According to the Nigeria security tracker as mapped out by the Council on Foreign Relations, 2,046 persons have been killed in Yobe and Adamawa states from June 2015 till December this year, “mostly” as a result of Boko Haram attacks.
Some of the attacks include a suicide bomb explosion that caused 32 deaths in Yola, Adamawa capital; a shooting in which 18 people died in Kuda, Adamawa; an invasion during which insurgents burnt down a village “completely” in Adamawa; a reported capture of some towns in Yobe state earlier in 2018 as well as the invasion of a military base also in Yobe, an attack described as the deadliest in the Boko Haram war. 600 soldiers were reported missing after that incident.
Also, previous research by TheCable showed that seven months into the Buhari administration, at least 594 persons were killed in not less than 20 attacks by the insurgents in areas outside Borno state.
A BBC analysis also showed that in 2017, there were at least nine Boko Haram attacks recorded in Yobe and Adamawa, including more than five armed invasion in Damaturu, Yobe capital, as well as two suicide bomb attacks in in Mubi, Adamawa. The analysis further showed the insurgents killed more than 110 people in both Damaturu and Mubi during the same year.
VERDICT: Amaechi’s comment that Boko Haram has not carried out an attack outside Borno under the current administration is far from the truth. Amaechi could have been carried away by the thrills and frills of the campaign season to have forgotten that Boko Haram insurgents killed 15 security operatives outside Borno just few days ago.
CLAIM TWO: SECURITY HAS IMPROVED UNDER BUHARI
Amaechi also said the current administration has “made (some) improvement” in the area of security, especially with respect to the Boko Haram attacks.
Amaechi’s claim is similar to what the present government has repeatedly said, but how true is this?
According to a report by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), an international think-thank into conflict collection, analysis and crisis mapping, Boko Haram’s activity and associated fatality “are down since 2015 but the group remains active and deadly”.
It, however, added that beginning from January 2018, Boko Haram “has demonstrated the ability to challenge the military in combat in both rural and urban areas” adding that there has been “an unprecedented number of female suicide bombers”.
The report also added that the military has reclaimed territories previously overtaken by the insurgents although recent happenings – such as the reported take over of Baga in Borno – could be seen as a major setback.
Again, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in conjunction with World Bank said while the north-east crisis peaked in 2014 under the immediate past administration, it has“remained relatively high through 2017.”
A more detailed data from the Nigeria security tracker showed that since the beginning of the current administration, crisis situations mostly Boko Haram attacks have caused the death of 10,108 persons in the north-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, as against the 22,360 persons killed under the same circumstances between 2011 and 2015.
VERDICT: Available statistics show that the Boko Haram insurgency is no longer as bad as it used to be. Therefore, Amaechi is correct to say the security situation in that aspect has improved though the herders-farmers conflict and banditry in Zamfara pose fresh threats.
Additional research by Ebun Olafusi