The Blog

Nigeria: A Year of Emergency

Exactly a year ago, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency across three north eastern states...

Exactly a year ago, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency across three north eastern states.

"It has become necessary for the government to take extraordinary measures to restore normalcy," he said as he ordered the Chief of Defence Forces to deploy more troops to Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states, which have borne the brunt of the insurgency by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The move was widely welcomed by many Nigerians - including his critics, who had previously described him as a weak leader.

In particular, they were relieved that the president was finally taking tough action against the militants.

However, questions remained over what difference the deployment of troops would make.

After all, the region was already heavily militarised, and yet the attacks seemed to intensify by the day.

So the question now is: One year on, how effective have the president's counter insurgency measures been?

Not very much, perhaps.

The Nigerian army claims it has killed hundreds of militants and destroyed several camps belonging to the group.

However attacks against civilians appear to have intensified and even become bolder.

Since the beginning of this year, hardly a week goes by without reports of another action by Boko Haram.

The Council on Foreign Relations which has been tracking the violence says 2,481 have been killed over the last year compared to 840 in the previous twelve months.

The president asked the military to "...take all necessary action within the ambits of their rules of engagement to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorism."

However a joint military task force overseeing the operation has itself been criticised for heavy handedness and human rights violations; leading to hundreds of civilian deaths.

Even before the now prominent kidnap of more than 200 school girls in Chibok, several schools had been attacked and pupils butchered by the militants in their dormitories.

Although many of these incidents went unreported, they nonetheless prompted many parents to remove their children from schools, threatening not to bring them back until the government guarantee their safety and security.

To Boko Haram which translates as 'western education is forbidden', this was a sign of victory.

In almost every way, Nigeria is seen as Africa's giant. Not only is it the continent's most populous country, it also recently announced that it had become Africa's biggest economy.

Last week, for example, it hosted the World Economic Forum - although the event was largely overshadowed by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign for the kidnapped Chibok pupils.

This Wednesday, the BBC will be assessing Nigeria's Year of Emergency. How effective has the state of emergency been? How much has it cost the country?

How many people have been killed and displaced over the past year? And what impact has the crisis had on the economy?

What is clear is that Boko Haram is no longer a Nigerian problem. The militants have become an international issue.

This week Israel announced that it was sending some counter terrorism officials, to join experts from the United States, Britain and France, already on the ground helping the Nigerian government. China has also offered to help the country deal with the insurgency.

President Goodluck has vowed that the kidnap of the girls will be a turning point in the fight against Boko Haram.

So will it? What options does the government have?

All these issues will be explored and discussed across the BBC World Service this week.