Following continued attacks by Boko Haram especially the devastating attacks on the village of Dalori which left over 86 men, women and children burnt in their homes and some beheaded, the influential UK based Independent Newspaper has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari ‘over-promised’ but ‘has under-delivered.’
Quoting the director of the Royal African Society, Mr. Richard Dowden, “There is a difference between what he would like to do and what he is able to do.
“He made a promise to tackle corruption, in a country where the only way to get something done is to bribe somebody. Nigeria is almost ungovernable, but he has also been slow to make reforms.”
If Mr Buhari, “a straight talking military man” according to Mr Dowden, has had little time to cement changes in Nigerian society, he has been quick to laud apparent successes against Boko Haram.
In an interview at the end of last year, he said that the Nigerian army, criticised in some quarters for its ineffective performance against the insurgents, had “technically defeated” Boko Haram.
It is true that the military has enjoyed a number of successes, and Nigeria’s regional standing has gained currency – there is now more cooperation between Nigeria and its neighbours. But, as the attack in Dalori shows, the fight is far from at an end.
The war between jihadists and the Nigerian government has killed 20,000 people in the last six years and driven nearly 2.5 million from their homes.
Mr Buhari has promised “normalcy” for the people in the North-east areas around the town of Maiduguri, the worst affected area, but it appears that the normality is Boko Haram’s ability to act with impunity.
If the Nigerian president has been too quick to declare his successes against Boko Haram, he has had little chance to solve the other problem in his in-tray. Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on oil – about 70 per cent of national income comes from sales of crude – but the recent collapse in its price has caused the country’s deficit to grow. Just a third of Nigeria’s income is expected to come from oil revenues this year.
To make matters worse, as news of the attack filtered through, his government had been forced to go cap in hand to the World Bank and African Development Bank, asking for $3.5bn in loans as the fall in the price of oil has caused the Nigerian economy to falter.
Gene Leon, the International Monetary Fund’s representative in Nigeria, told the Financial Times that Nigeria faced “significant external and fiscal account challenges”.