Back to Nigeria: Stories from the battle against Boko Haram

Illustration by Simon Prades

Founded more than 10 years ago, Boko Haram, the extremist group in northern Nigeria, jolted into global consciousness with the abduction of nearly 300 girls in April, 2014. Since, stories about the communities affected by its terrorizing tactics, about the regional effort to fight it, and about a new President who promised to put a final end to it, have ebbed and flowed in and out of international headlines.

In this series, a partnership between and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University, we take you back to Nigeria. We turn our attention back to the human rights researchers who are using satellite images to document the group’s activity; back to the challenges that lay ahead for President Buhari, including meeting the needs of the internally displaced; back to the composition of this complex group — fanatics whose ranks are nearly half made up of children. 

With essays from Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, International Crisis Group’s EJ Hogendoorn, Amnesty’s Christoph Koettl, journalist Tolu Ogunlesi, Shelly Whitman of the Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, and Marie Lamensch and Nicolai Pogadl with MIGS, we bring you six different ways to gain a better understanding of a crisis that deserves to stay front of mind. 

In the series


My Nigeria, paying the wages of appeasement

The challenge Boko Haram poses to Nigeria is “neither unique, nor unpredicted,” as Wole Soyinka writes. But, it needs to be better understood. 


Boko Haram, Nigeria, Africa — where’s the news coverage?

Media attention can inspire policy change and promote a greater understanding of an issue. On Boko Haram, we have a long way to go. 


Why President Buhari’s biggest challenge is yet to come

Signs are emerging that Boko Haram has been dealt a crippling blow, but Nigeria’s new government has yet to deal with the group’s changing tactics, and the millions internally displaced.


Boko Haram’s Evolution: How it got this far, and how to stop it

Addressing bad governance, corruption and under-development is more crucial than military counter-measures.


Coming face-to-face with a child soldier

Boko Haram’s ranks are estimated to be 40 percent children. Let’s face those facts now, to better prepare soldiers that might meet them in the field.


Using technology to expose Boko Haram's atrocities

Satellite images and video have become critical for human rights researchers and may help bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice