John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 21-27

by John Campbell Tuesday, May 31, 2016
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from May 21, to May 27, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
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Nigeria’s Oil Production Down by 40 Percent

by John Campbell Friday, May 27, 2016
Ships and tankers seen on the horizon off the coast of the Apapa port Lagos, Nigeria, Febuary 25, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Ships and tankers seen on the horizon off the coast of the Apapa port Lagos, Nigeria, Febuary 25, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Oil is the property of the Nigerian state. Most of it is produced through partnerships between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which is owned by the state, and private oil companies. Oil provides the Nigerian state with about 70 percent of its revenue and roughly 90 percent of its foreign exchange. President Muhammadu Buhari’s current national budget is expansionary, not least because of the struggle against Boko Haram. The budget is based on the production of 2.2 million barrels per day at $38 per barrel. He has also declined to officially devalue the national currency, the naira, which trades at an official rate of about 200 to the U.S. dollar and about 345 to the U.S. dollar on the black market. Read more »

Don’t Give Up on AMISOM Yet

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, May 26, 2016
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Later this year, Somalia looks to continue its recent progress by holding a successful parliamentary election. The election provides an opportunity to improve governance in the country and could illustrate the improvement Somalia has made to the donor community, international businesses, and the world. But, enormous pitfalls remain, and Somalia’s partners, including the United States, have expressed concerns about the process. This election could prove to be disastrous and set Somalia back if not handled correctly. To cope with these pitfalls, Somalia is forced to rely on an already strained African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to secure this election, but international support appears to be waning for the African Union (AU) force. The AU should reaffirm its commitment to Somalia and implore member and donor nations to not give up on AMISOM, and Somalia, yet. Read more »

Morning in South Africa

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 25, 2016
From the cover of Morning in South Africa, a book written by John Campbell. From the cover of Morning in South Africa, a book written by John Campbell.

My new book on South Africa is now available in hardcover and Kindle. The book’s core argument is that despite the corruption and incompetency of the Zuma administration combined with slow economic growth, the country’s democratic institutions are strong enough to weather the current period of poor governance. Read more »

The Rescued Chibok Girl and the Victims Support Fund

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, a Nigerian schoolgirl rescued after over two years of captivity with Boko Haram militants, presents her child to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, May 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, a Nigerian schoolgirl rescued after over two years of captivity with Boko Haram militants, presents her child to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, May 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Sherrie Russell-Brown. She is an international human rights lawyer, who writes about issues of gender, security, international justice and humanitarian law, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 14-20

by John Campbell Monday, May 23, 2016
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from May 14, to May 20, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Buhari Discusses the Future of the Civilian Joint Task Force

by John Campbell Friday, May 20, 2016
Members of civilian joint task force members check vehicles at a checkpoint in Maiduguri May 22, 2014. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Members of civilian joint task force members check vehicles at a checkpoint in Maiduguri May 22, 2014. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is a body of vigilantes, recruited by local and state governments, that has assisted the Nigerian security services in the struggle against Boko Haram. They are widely said to have invaluable local knowledge. Critics, however, have been concerned about their lack of discipline and their alleged personal score-settling. They are also accused of serious human rights abuses. Now that they are armed, there has been concern about what they will do if and when the struggle against Boko Haram concludes. Read more »

Questions About Nigeria’s Freed Chibok Schoolgirl

by John Campbell Thursday, May 19, 2016
Undated picture released May 18, 2016, by the Nigerian army of rescued Chibok schoolgirl and her baby in Maiduguri, Nigeria. She was kidnapped by Boko Haram from her school in Chibok more than two years ago. (Nigeria Military/Handout via Reuters) Undated picture released May 18, 2016, by the Nigerian army of rescued Chibok schoolgirl and her baby in Maiduguri, Nigeria. She was kidnapped by Boko Haram from her school in Chibok more than two years ago. (Nigeria Military/Handout via Reuters)

As has been the case since Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of school girls that had been concentrated in Chibok to take their final examinations two years ago, there must be questions about Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki. According to Western and Nigerian media, she was found in the bush by members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a vigilante group that assists the official security services in the fight against Boko Haram. She had with her a baby and a man. Read more »

Opposition to U.S. Military Aircraft Sale to Nigeria

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 18, 2016
U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Clayton, an 81st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, flies an A-29 Super Tucano in the skies over Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, U.S., March 5, 2015. (Reuters/enior Airman Ryan Callaghan) U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Clayton, an 81st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, flies an A-29 Super Tucano in the skies over Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, U.S., March 5, 2015. (Reuters/enior Airman Ryan Callaghan)

The New York Times on May 18 opposed the U.S. sale of military aircraft to Nigeria in an editorial titled Block the Sale of Warplanes to Nigeria. The core of the editorial’s argument is that President Muhammadu Buhari has not done enough to respond to charges that the Nigerian army has committed war crimes in its fight against Boko Haram. The newspaper also asserts that “Nigeria’s government cannot be entrusted with the versatile new warplanes, which can be used for ground attacks as well as reconnaissance.” Read more »

South Africa’s Currency Falls Again on Rumors of Finance Minister’s Arrest

by John Campbell Tuesday, May 17, 2016
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures during a media briefing in Sandton near Johannesburg, March 14, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures during a media briefing in Sandton near Johannesburg, March 14, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

On May 15, the Sunday Times (English, Johannesburg) published rumors of the impending arrest of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over alleged revenue service irregularities. However, on May 16, Beeld (Afrikaans, Johannesburg) reported that President Zuma denied the Sunday Times report. Nevertheless, the South African national currency, the rand (ZAR), fell the following two days, reaching its weakest level in two months; it has fallen 2.1 percent against the U.S. dollar since March 15. Read more »