Photos of burned-out schools, police stations and homes are poignant reminders of the dreadful times Banki has witnessed. Times that were as dark and terrible as the gaping sockets of the burned-out windows. This Nigerian town in the state of Borno, directly on the border with Cameroon, was captured by the terrorist organisation Boko Haram in September 2014. That was the year that also saw the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok, an incident which made headlines worldwide.
Banki was strategically important for the terrorists, as they attempted to gain control over the area on the other side of the border. Back then, the frontier between Nigeria and Cameroon was closed. The main street of the town, once a flourishing commercial district for trade in the border region of Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, was devastated, leaving behind a deserted expanse of ruins. People died, families fled and lost their livelihoods.
Seven years later, in January 2021, the border between Nigeria and Cameroon was reopened. This link, which is vital for the Lake Chad Basin Region, is also essential for regional trade. Life has returned to Banki’s main street. The primary school stands out with its yellow walls and red roof. Market stands have been set up and the border forces have new barracks. Several thousand people have returned to the area now the terrorists have been driven out, and Nigerian security forces patrol the border region.
Following the military success of Nigerian troops against Boko Haram in the region around Banki, the African Union’s Regional Strategy for the Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience of Boko Haram-affected Areas has worked with the Lake Chad Basin Commission to prepare the ground for positive development in the border region. To support the implementation of the strategy, the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom have established a Regional Stabilisation Facility for Lake Chad. It has been designed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German Federal Foreign Office, with the support of experts from the Stabilisation Platform (SPF).
Stabilisation involves high-risk project work. Here we are talking about places where the security situation is extremely difficult and where often only the military or humanitarian relief agencies have access. One example is the region around Lake Chad, which has been devastated by the reign of terror wrought by Boko Haram. In order to retain an ability to act under these circumstances, particular expertise is required for monitoring, steering and analytical work. This is where the Stabilisation Platform (SPF) comes in. The SPF was founded in 2021 on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office as an own brand. It is hosted by GIZ and consists of experts with a wealth of practical experience, which they then make available to foreign and security policy-makers. The SPF team supports the Federal Foreign Office with wide-ranging expertise gained from worldwide project work, including in fragile contexts in particular. It offers technical advice, pilots new instruments and provides operational support.
The facility is managed by UNDP. It aims to improve local security and facilitate the reconstruction of state structures – thus providing essential basic services like education and health care for the population. Activities are coordinated by a committee comprising representatives of local authorities, civil society and the security forces. The committee has, for instance, arranged for an enclosure wall to be built to provide protection against any attacks by Boko Haram, as well as new police stations and school classrooms. It has also organised human rights training for security forces, and is ensuring that start-up capital for businesses and small crafts and trades enterprises is distributed, in an effort to revive the local economy. The main idea is that achievements are attributed directly to the governments in the region, so that the trust of the local population in state structures can grow in this fragile situation. The SPF team supports the Federal Foreign Office with steering and ongoing development of the facility.
Consequences of the Boko Haram terror
Over the last 12 years, some 30,000 people have been killed in north-eastern Nigeria. More than two million people have been forced to flee their homes and up to 10 million men, women and children now depend on humanitarian assistance. More than 800,000 people still live in areas controlled by Boko Haram.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda provide the framework for our activities around the world. Click on a goal to find out which projects in this report are helping to achieve it.
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
The 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals are important benchmarks for GIZ.