Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency is having a “devastating” impact on three of the country’s northeastern states, President Goodluck Jonathan said.
The violence by the militants, concentrated in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the majority-Muslim north of Africa’s biggest oil producer, “is significant in terms of the killing and maiming of innocent people,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in New York yesterday.
“Overall it doesn’t affect the economy that much in terms of the economy of Nigeria as a state, but it’s devastating for the economies of Borno state, Yobe state and Adamawa state,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan’s administration is struggling to contain the rebellion, which killed more than 4,000 people in the past 12 months, according to Maplecroft, the Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy. The attacks include three blasts in the capital, Abuja, in April, May and June this year, the first bombings in the city since 2011.
The president, whose government had previously said it was close to crushing Boko Haram, this year began describing the group as an expanding al-Qaeda-backed threat to Africa. The violence in Nigeria drew international attention after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April and threatened to sell them into slavery. Most of the girls are still missing.
The predominantly Christian south of Nigeria, which includes its oil- and gas-producing coastal areas and the commercial hub of Lagos, generates most of the country’s wealth. About 69 percent of Nigerians in the northeast were living in absolute poverty in 2010, compared with a national average of 61 percent, according to Nigeria’s statistics agency.
Nigeria is one of five countries in West Africa to record cases of Ebola this year. The outbreak is most severe in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where more than 2,800 people have died, according to the World Health Organization. Nigeria’s Health Ministry says the virus killed seven people in the country.