Nigeria: Politics and Government
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Henry Bellingham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Africa and the United Nations), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North West Norfolk, Conservative)
In the last year Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks against a range of targets including government institutions, security forces and an international organisation, the UN. Recently, Boko Haram has also claimed responsibility for a number of attacks specifically targeted against Christians and Christian places of worship, although it remains the case that the majority of Boko Haram's victims to date have been Muslims, including Muslim religious leaders. We assess that the purpose of the attacks against Christians is to exacerbate religious and communal tensions. However, in some instances we judge that attacks carried out with criminal motives are also being ascribed to Boko Haram. Poverty, lack of economic opportunity, social inequality and political tensions all contribute significantly to insecurity in northern and central Nigeria.