Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has relocated the nation's military headquarters from capital Abuja to Maiduguri, the epicentre of terror group Boko Haram's insurgency.

After taking office at the end of May, Buhari renewed his commitment to end the deadly insurgency and said the military would be relocated until the fight against Boko Haram (recently renamed Iswap) is over.


Capital: Abuja

Population: 174,507,53 (2013 census)

Largest cities: Lagos, Kano, Abuja

Major ethnic groups: 21% Yoruba, 21% Hausa,
18% Igbo

Languages: English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba

Religion: 50% Muslim, 40% Christian, 10% other

Currency: Naira (N) 1N = £0.0033; US$0.0050

Maiduguri is the capital of Borno state, which together with Yobe and Adamawa bears the brunt of the attacks that have killed and displaced thousands of people in the north east of Nigeria since 2009.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, government spokeman Mike Omeri said the president's decision to relocate part of the army is a wise one.

"We have to try as many methods and strategies as possible, and that's why the government said all efforts, all assets, all resources will be used fighting insurgency in the north east.

"We will do anything that will give us relief. This is a tactical decision, a consolidation of strategies. We hope to see results."

On 7 June, Buhari arrived in Germany to attend a two-day G7 meeting to discuss security and development issues.

The Nigerian leader, who won the presidential election in March defeating incumbent leader Goodluck Jonathan, also said the government would do anything to find the 220 girls abducted by the terrorists from Chibok in April 2014.

The Nigerian government is being aided by mercenaries and troops from neighbouring countries Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon in its offensive and has scored some successes since the military co-operation started in February.

The US announced it would send military trainers to help the Nigerian army improve its intelligence gathering and logistics.

Boko Haram recently released a video in which it denied the government's announcement 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.

More about Nigeria


Between 1790 and 1807, Britain acquired an estimated 2000 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 1 and 3 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.

The group, now led by Abubakar Shekau, has killed thousands of people since its insurgency became violent in 2009 and declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.

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