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How corruption in Nigeria is making it hard to defeat Boko Haram


EARLIER this year, Nigerian Lieutenant Colonel T.J. Abdallah found himself under investigation by senior military officials. His offense: He criticized them on a WhatsApp messaging group. Describing them as “Nollywood actors” (Nigeria’s version of Hollywood), Abdallah said they had failed to provide his men with the weapons and equipment they needed to fight Boko Haram, the militant group that has waged an armed insurgency in Nigeria since 2009.

But if the colonel’s criticisms are right, his men’s scarce resources are not for lack of military spending. The Nigerian government has been increasing defense spending for years in its effort to stamp out Boko Haram. In May, the country’s Senate passed a record $24.45 billion federal budget that, once the executive approves it, will allocate $440 million for the Ministry of Defense. Yet for Nigerians in the country’s troubled northeast, where Boko Haram is most active, the planned cash injection may not bring the resources they need. A culture of corruption in Nigeria, says anti-corruption organization Transparency International, has prevented much of that money from reaching the troops.

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Freedom From Choice - Political operatives used fake news, Big Data and Facebook to suppress the vote and rile up racists in 2016. It’s going to be even uglier next time ’round.