Mike Smith / News / Politics

Frontline Club: Boko Haram

Mike Smith joined a panel of experts on Wednesday 4 February at the Frontline Club to discuss the impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and West Africa, in the lead up to Nigeria’s general election on 28 March.

Frontline Haram: Boko Haram

Chaired by BBC’s Peter Okwoche, alongside Mike Smith, author of our new book Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War, the panel included Bala Mohammed Liman, a doctoral candidate at SOAS; Funmi Iyanda, a Nigerian producer, journalist and talk show host; and Alex Perry, a contributing editor at Newsweek‘s international edition.

Beginning the discussion as to why Boko Haram has reached such prominence under Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, Smith explained: ‘This is absolutely a national issue now, maybe a regional issue. We don’t want to exaggerate though, Jonathan called it the ‘Al Qaeda of West Africa’, but it is absolutely not that.’

Responding to a question about our lack of understanding of Boko Haram’s hierarchy, Smith said “my best definition of what we have now, is that Boko Haram… is just a good name to call all the things going on in the insurgency. Some of it may be different cells, or it may be one dominant cell – it gets quite complicated.”

Catch up and listen to the discussion below. ■

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