The Nigerian military headquarters have been recently moved to the town of Maiduguri, in Borno state, the epicentre of terror group Boko Haram's insurgency.

Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?

Boko Haram fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law on the country. The group declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.

Boko Haram has raided several cities in the north of the country in a bid to take control of more land.

Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram's attacks.

The group has killed at least 2,600 people since the beginning of 2015. More than 180 have been killed since the beginning of June.

The relocation was announced by newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari, who has vowed Nigeria will do anything it can to defeat terrorism in the country.

IBTimes UK spoke with Chris Mackmurdo, founding director of strategic intelligence consultancy Contest Global, and Emmanuel Akinwotu, freelance journalist and commentator on Nigerian politics, on the fight against Boko Haram (recently renamed Iswap) as well as Nigeria's other pressing issues such as corruption and the fuel crisis.

Former president Goodluck Jonathan was accused of not stepping up the efforts to combat terrorism and address issues such as the crippled economy and army's indiscipline, which has led to allegations of human rights abuses.

The election of Buhari in March is the first democratic transition of power since military rule and a long list of coup d'états.

Many Nigerians see the new leader, a former military chief, as the answer to tackling problems that the previous administrations failed to address.

Boko Haram attacks continue

Earlier in June, Boko Haram released a video in which it denied the government's claim that the army had recaptured some territories previously occupied by the insurgents. Shortly after the video, suspected Boko Haram members carried out a bomb attack in Yola, killing at least 31 people.

Buhari met with regional leaders on Thursday (11 June) to discuss future military strategies.

He said during the meeting that Nigeria should lead the anti-terror joint offensive and that a proposed six-month rotating command among the five nations could disrupt operations.

As the regional leaders were holding a meeting, dozens of Boko Haram rebels on motorcycles stormed Matangale, Buraltima and Dirmanti towns in restive Borno state, killing at least 43 people.

One day later, further attacks in several villages in Borno claimed 37 lives.

More about Nigeria


Between 1790 and 1807, Britain acquired an estimated 2,000 slaves per year from Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. In 1807, Britain stopped the practice after the implementation of the Slave Trade Act and annexed Lagos in 1861 after it bombarded the town deposing leader Oba Kosoko - who supported the slave trade - and helped install Oba Akitoye.


Britain officially occupied Nigeria from 1885 until 1960, when the country gained independence.

Biafra and civil war

Tensions due to political differences among Nigeria's main ethnic groups – the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba - as well as perceived corruption in the political and electoral process culminated with several coups d'etat, which further ignited tensions between the north and south of the country. The situation further worsened when the then Eastern Region declared independence from the rest of Nigeria and proclaimed the Republic of Biafra in 1967. A civil war ensued when the Nigerian army invaded Biafra in 1967. The 30-month conflict resulted in the death of between one and three million people and the end of the Republic of Biafra. Hundreds of thousands of people died of starvation as a result of restrictions on Red Cross aid and food supplies to Biafra imposed by the Nigerian government.


Ethnic tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country started during the colonisation era, when the British promoted the spread of Christianity in the Bornu Empire - modern day northeast Nigeria - ruled according to the principles of the Constitution of Medina, believed to have been drafted by the prophet Mohammed. Violence increased when the Muslim sect Yan Tatsine instigated deadly riots in Kano state. As a result, the sect leader was killed and violence spread across other cities in the northeast.

In 2002 Mohammed Yusuf founded Boko Haram - translated from the Hausa language as "Western education is forbidden" - attracting unemployed poor Muslims with his rhetoric focusing on the country's widespread corruption. Boko haram is still active today and aims to establish an Islamic Caliphate in northern Nigeria where he fights against Western influence and aims to impose its version of Sharia law.