Nigeria is a country riven with inequality. 85% of the population survive on less than $2 a day.
Strong economic growth has not translated into improved living standards for the vast majority of the population, 60% of whom live in absolute poverty, an increase from 52% in 2004. In the north of the country, poverty levels are 40% higher than in the southern states. Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school in the world, and many of these are in northern Nigeria.
Locked into a destructive cycle of poverty, underdevelopment and instability, northern Nigeria has been wracked by violence for many years, of which Boko Haram is the most recent manifestation. Their brutal attacks and abductions of women have earned them notoriety, but global media coverage barely scratches the surface of the insurgency, which includes killings, sexual violence, destruction of homes and livelihoods and other abuses on a vast scale.
Over the course of 2014, attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram grew more frequent and more deadly.
In the first nine months of 2014 nearly 7000 people were killed in social violence in northern Nigeria. Of these, Boko Haram was responsible for over 5000. An investigation by the BBC World Service and King’s College London found that in November alone, 786 people, almost all of them civilians, were killed in 27 Boko Haram incidents.
The Nigerian Government proved largely ineffective in curbing the insurgency, and have themselves been implicated in severe human rights violations including extra-judicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.