Despite Nigeria’s budgetary challenges as it faces a humanitarian crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari signed a $593 million arms deal in 2017 with the U.S. government. Nigeria is expected to receive 12 Super Tucano warplanes, along with military hardware, maintenance and training, despite its track record of human rights violations.
The country remains a key focus of U.S. military counter-terrorism activity. But this assistance often blurs the lines between development and military activities. During fiscal years 2015 -2018, the U.S. Department of Defense spent $954 million in combat operations, military aircraft, logistics, and command and control to support regional military operations in Africa. In addition, the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) participates in the Multinational Joint Task Force, formed by Nigeria and other countries to combat Boko Haram.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s militaristic approach to “counter violent extremism” has hindered the possibility of a legitimate peace process because it has undermined peacebuilding, conflict mitigation and prevention work.