Nigeria. Goodluck Jonathan, who provisionally assumed the post of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, was elected in April for the next four years. Already in the first round he got almost 59% of the vote, against just under 32% for former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari. Another 18 candidates participated.
In the parliamentary elections, which had to be postponed for a week due to lack of preparation, Jonathan’s party PDP (People’s Democratic Party) strengthened its position by far the largest with about three-quarters of seats in the House of Representatives and even greater majority in the Senate.
The time leading up to the elections had been relatively calm, but when the results began to be presented, serious unrest broke out. Jonathan comes from the Christian South, while Yar’Adua was a Muslim from the north. Because he died before he fulfilled his mandate, many in the north felt that the presidential post should, for justice’s sake, have remained in Muslim hands. The riots were believed to have been mainly instigated by supporters of Buhari, who, however, themselves abstained from the violence. At least 500 people were killed and nearly 40,000 fled their homes during three days of violence. Buhari appealed against the result but received no hearing from the special court which examined the information on election fraud.
For a number of years, Nigeria has been plagued by clashes in the central parts of the country, especially around the city of Jos. In this area, Muslim and Christian culture but also livestock and agricultural groups meet, whose competition for increasingly scarce land resources is as strong a cause of conflicts as religious contradictions. Rival political groups are often accused of igniting the conflict. Dozens of people were killed in attacks during the first months of the year. At the beginning of September, the violence flared up again with hundreds of deaths as a result, after which President Jonathan ordered the army to “stop by all means” the unrest.
An even more serious problem for the government this year was the extremist Muslim sect Boko Haram, whose name roughly means “Western education is a sin”. Authorities believed to have crushed the organization in 2009, when its leaders were killed after being arrested. But after exempting at least 150 imprisoned members a year later, a reborn Boko Haram in 2011 carried out several spectacular attacks that shook the government. The organization took on a series of explosive attacks right after President Jonathan’s official installation at the end of May and said a few weeks later he had been behind an attack on the national police headquarters in the capital Abuja.
In July, Boko Haram struck both police and military and civilian targets in Maiduguri in the northeast. The city was transformed into the closest scene of war when the military counter-attacked. According to Amnesty International, soldiers shot at least 25 people in their search for sect members.
Shortly after the government in August announced plans to try to negotiate with Boko Haram, the movement carried out a suicide attack on the UN plant in Abuja. A motorist managed to get past the security fences around the building complex and detonate an explosive charge that completely destroyed the two lower floors. At least 23 people were killed. It was one of the most serious attacks directed at the World Organization. The Nigerian security police claimed that the attack had been planned by a member of Boko Haram who had recently returned from Somalia and had close contacts with the al-Qaeda terror network.
Towards the end of the year Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks against churches and police stations in and around the city of Damaturu in the northeast. A few hundred people were killed and 90,000 fled. A state of emergency was announced in parts of northern Nigeria on New Year’s Eve.
The United Nations Environment Organization UNEP presented in August a report on the environmental damage caused by the oil industry in the Ogoniland region in the Niger Delta. According to UNEP, oil spills have contaminated agricultural land, drinking water and important ecosystems, such as mangrove swamps. In their report, according to the report, the content of carcinogenic benzene in drinking water is more than 900 times higher than the World Health Organization’s WHO recommendations. UNEP called on the government and the oil industry to contribute at least $ 1 billion to a decontamination fund. The UN organization estimated that it could take 30 years to recreate a healthy environment in the area, which is probably the most polluted in the world. The oil company Shell, which was the dominant region in the region up to 1993, has always maintained that sabotage and theft are the main causes of environmental degradation.