John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Richard Joseph on Nigeria and Insecurity

by John Campbell
October 19, 2011

Undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (Ho New/Courtesy Reuters)

Richard Joseph, the John Evans professor of political science at Northwestern University and a distinguished Africanist, has an important oped on the Brookings website, “Nigeria and Global Insecurity.”

Professor Joseph’s theme is twofold–that “the lines between al-Qaeda, Islamic extremism in Africa, and wider insecurity in the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria, are converging”; and despite this challenge, a purely military approach will not prevent this.

On the first point, he links Osama bin Laden’s interest in Nigeria to Umar Abdulmutallab’s attempted bombing of a Northwest plane to Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

He also recalls the UN headquarters bombing in Abuja by (allegedly) Boko Haram, but emphasizes the generally inward focused nature of that group, that “most Nigerians now acknowledge the intractability of the threats they face, fostered as much by material grievances as by the bludgeoning tactics of their own security forces in response to domestic upheavals.”

Concerned with the prospect of deep cuts in U.S. foreign aid and a Pentagon request for five billion dollars for drones, Joseph argues “This is not the time (for the United States) to slash foreign aid, but rather innovatively seek to promote transformative governance and job-producing economic growth.”

Read the article here.

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  • Posted by Maduka

    Ambassador Campbell seems to assume that less foreign aid will result in more terrorism. That is simply not true.

    The aid paradigm has simply not worked and the US tries to do too many things at the same time (run our health care policy, fund our schools and hospitals, build capacity in our Civil Service and guide our politicians).

    You deny our politicians the incentive to seriously confront our problems and proffer solutions. You are perpetuating an unsustainable state of affairs.

    Nigeria spends only $10 per capita on health care, it can afford to spend more. Providing budget support to the Health Ministry (which the Government does not see as a priority, anyway), will not make the Nigerian Government more serious about providing health care to its citizens.

    You are truncating the democratic process, our politicians are more accountable to US funded NGOs and the free money they bring than to Nigerian citizens.

    I will campaign for the US to reduce the amount of aid given to the Nigerian Government to zero. We are rich enough to take care of our citizens and all the aid in the World will not make our politicians accountable.

    Boko Haram and the Niger Delta militants are predictable outcomes of fifty years of corrupt rule. Nigeria will pass through a very rough patch and either disintegrate or attain greatness.

    The French Revolution was the logical consequence of several years of kleptocratic rule – Nigeria isn’t any different.

    Finally, the US has less money to spend. Stop wasting it on our politicians.

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