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8,700 troops altogether will be deployed to fight the extremist group.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, along with its neighbouring nations, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin agreed to collectively deploy 8,700 troops in order to tackle the growing extremist threat of Boko Haram.

The question of the extremist groups future in Nigeria comes after the delay in the nation’s general election, which was postponed by 6 weeks in order to combat the threat of the Islamist terror group. Originally planned to take place this coming Saturday, the election was redrafted for March 28th as the Government declared security forces necessary in destabilising Boko Haram camps and therefore unable to deploy them to maintain safety throughout Election Day.

However, queries have been raised over the motive of the date alteration, with many arguing that the security forces needed to combat Boko Haram are completely separate from those that should be used to maintain peaceful and accessible voting in the election. Such a belief therefore means that they delay in the election was politically tactical from a Government which has a history of military rule. Nigeria spent the last 50 years of the 20th Century under such a regime, after eventually turning to democracy in 1999. Many fear and have serious concerns that such a move is Nigeria reclining back into its old ways, especially if the fighting against Boko Haram doesn’t go as planned and the election delay is prolonged.

Further doubts stem from the fact that Nigeria has faced the threat of Boko Haram intensely for over 6 years, leaving many sceptical over why the decision to take action comes now. Dasuki strongly denies that there is any other political motivations for the decision, but the coincidental timing has left many people thinking otherwise.

Most notably is that of John Kerry, the US Secretary of State. Upon his recent visit to Nigeria that was planned on the grounds to encourage fair voting, Kerry admitted that the US Government was “deeply disappointed” in the delay. He continued, “Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process.”

Izzy Lyons, Correspondent (Politics)

Image Courtesy: Chatham House (https://www.flickr.com/photos/chathamhouse/16160741168), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Flickr

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