Bottom Line Up Front Boko Haram has evolved from a group focused on economic and social development in Nigeria into a transnational terrorist organization, which has targeted the UN, kidnapped nearly 300 female students, and launched suicide attacks to terrorize security forces and intimidate the local population. At its ...

Bottom Line: Terrorist group Boko Haram has lost most of the territory it claimed as a “caliphate” within Nigeria back in 2015. But the group still strikes government officials, troops and civilians from its few remaining safe havens in the northeast of the country, and could be positioning itself to take ...

Although deaths from the terrorist group Boko Haram are down since they peaked in 2012, the group continues to wreak havoc across the northern part of Nigeria. In 2015, the U.S. pledged more military assistance to help fight the insurgency. But as former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell tells ...

Boko Haram terror attacks have swelled in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State over the past few months. Hilary Matfess, who is author of the forthcoming book, Women and the War on Boko Haram, which will be available in November 2017, tells The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder what it was like on ...

Suicide attacks and deaths attributed to the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram have been increasing over the first half of 2017. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who recently returned to the country after spending most of the year in London receiving medical treatment, vowed to escalate the campaign to defeat Boko ...

Boko Haram militants have released 21 missing schoolgirls, who were kidnapped from Chibok more than two years ago, to Nigerian authorities as part of a deal brokered by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to the BBC, the girls were swapped for the release ...

Nigeria remains one of Africa’s largest oil producers, but for the past six months, it has been surpassed by the continent’s other major producer, Angola. Insecurity in the Niger Delta is largely to blame. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Director of the CSIS Africa Program Jennifer Cooke about ...

Africa’s long-time, largest oil producer is wavering. For six months in a row (March-August), Nigeria landed in the number two spot of the continent’s largest producers of crude, falling behind Angola, according to OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) data. Oil production levels provide insight into the stability – ...

While claims last week by a Nigerian army spokesman that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was “fatally wounded” in an August 19 airstrike should be taken with a dose of skepticism—the military has announced the elusive militant’s death on at least four prior occasions, only to have him reappear taunting ...

Downward growth revisions for Sub-Saharan Africa over the past year have tended to highlight the continued impact of external stimuli on the sub-region. The IMF’s latest revision cut growth estimates by 1.3 percent to just 3 percent for 2016 – well below the global average in a region which arguably ...

Despite sustained efforts by the Nigerian military to root out Boko Haram from its stronghold in northeastern Nigeria, the terrorist organization continues to plague the country and the Lake Chad basin area in West Africa.  “Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people, displaced more than two million, and flung ...

A key moment on the Boko Haram timeline occurred in March 2015, when the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Dr. Raymond Gilpin, Dean of Academic Affairs for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University, both groups felt that they “could gain from ...

There is a leadership struggle underway within Boko Haram, the violent, extremist movement that has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2011 and destabilized the secular Nigerian state and its neighbors. The personal struggle between Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi reflects in part the rivalry between Boko Haram and ...

Militants in the south of Nigeria – in the area known as the Niger Delta – are blowing up oil pipelines and destroying other essential oil infrastructure. The Cipher Brief talked with Ambassador John Campbell, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria from 2004 – 2007, about the recent uptick ...

Various assumptions have emerged in attempts to explain the resurgence of armed militancy in the Niger Delta since February. Some explanations seek to connect the renewed militancy to the failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan, a native of the Niger Delta, to secure a second four-year term (2015-2019) as President ...

Nigeria faces three distinct security crises, with one common thread: failure of governance. Terrorist group Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in the north, a conflict over land between farmers and nomadic herdsmen rages in the middle of the country, and a renewed insurgency in the south – in the ...

On March 7, 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS.  Nearly a year later, has either of these terrorist groups gained from this partnership? For ISIS, the answer is undoubtedly yes.  Expanding its reach helps ISIS demonstrate in real terms that it is achieving its goal of creating a caliphate ...

Nearly one year since Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to ISIS, its threat to Nigeria has changed, though still remains.  “Clearly, the snake has been injured and weakened, but not killed or defanged,”  Ona Ekhomu, President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), told The ...

The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) was established on May 22,1964 through the Fort Lamy (now N’Djamena) Convention to ensure equitable and sustainable management of Lake Chad, while preserving the ecosystem and promoting sub-regional integration, peace, and security in the basin.  In the last decade, the LCBC’s member states—Cameroon, Chad, ...

The global oil industry is going through a lesson in Economics 101:  When supply increases, prices go down.  Crude oil prices are currently hovering around $45 per barrel, a 65 percent reduction from a summer 2014 peak at over $100 per barrel.  A surplus in crude oil supply has kept ...

In the seven months since arriving on the throne, new Saudi King Salman has brought fundamental changes to the Saudi power line-up and to succession politics.  Beneath the surface of the royal shake up, however, Saudi Arabia is also having to contend with trends in the global oil market that ...

Global oil markets are in flux.  Significant price swings—from triple digits to double digits, back and forth, over the past decade—are an indication of a systemic imbalance.  In a sector with few ready substitutes, this introduces new risks and heightens security concerns, with ramifications worldwide for the oil industry, oil ...

The business and geopolitical history of the 20th century was written in oil…black gold…Texas tea. Indeed, the need to secure abundant energy supplies has been an essential plot line of international relations ever since the Industrial Revolution. Some historians argue, for example, that the expansion of the British Empire was ...

Nigerians were ready for change when they elected former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari as president, the first candidate to defeat an incumbent at the polls.  Having recently reached the “100 days in office” mark, Buhari is now being criticized for not accomplishing his campaign promises fast enough.   Buhari set ...

Nigeria is considered a frontier capital market and one of the most important business destinations in sub-Saharan Africa (SSAfrica) along with Kenya, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Although this is a positive, there are some major economic challenges. Most of these issues pre-date the election of Nigeria’s new administration led by ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Dr. Alexandra Gillies, the director of governance programs at the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), to get her thoughts on recent changes in the Nigerian oil sector. NRGI promotes good governance in the oil, gas and mining sector.  The Cipher Brief: What are the five things western ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Bankole Cardoso, co-founder of EasyTaxi Nigeria, to get his perspective on Nigeria’s emergence as a business hub.  Last year, Cardoso was listed by Forbes as one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa. The Cipher Brief: How has the election of Muhammadu Buhari ...