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June 1, 2015

New Nigerian president hopes to ‘reset’ relationship with U.S.


President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in last week as the first democratically-elected president of Nigeria, signaling a new chapter for Africa’s most populous country.

Buhari promised his administration would continue the fight against Boko Haram, the militant extremist group that kidnapped more than 300 female students from a school in Chibok, Nigeria last year and took territory in northeast Nigeria. Over 200 of the students are still missing.

The last administration under President Goodluck Jonathan made strides in pushing back against Boko Haram, but it has recently morphed from a military force to a terrorist insurgency, which will require a change in tactics to fight it, according to J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.

“The Nigerian military is going to have to retool itself. And that’s going to require a different set of investments,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nigeria and the U.S. are in the process of discussing how to “reset” the relationship between the two countries. In the coming months, the U.S. could share military resources with Nigeria to help the fight against Boko Haram, including intelligence, logistics and training.

Fixing Nigeria’s economy will also be a challenge for the new president. A large percentage of Nigeria’s revenue depends on the sale of oil, which has dropped to half the price it was last year.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Nigeria?
  2. What do you know about the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign?
Critical thinking questions
  1. What is significant about the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari?
  2. What is political corruption and why would it be a problem for Nigeria?
  3. How can a country be a top oil producer while also suffering a major fuel crisis, and a struggling economy?
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