Inspector General Ringim had visited Borno state, where Boko Haram is based, and vowed to eliminate the group within months.
In response to Ringim’s stance the group took action a few days later. According to local reports, a car that had been following closely behind the police chief’s vehicle exploded in the car park just under two minutes after Ringim had arrived for work on Thursday morning.
The suicide bomb attack is not only significant in that it occurred at the heart of Nigeria’s security establishment in the capital city of Abuja, but it also displays the group’s capacity and intent to implement attacks in sensitive areas.
“We are responsible for the bomb attack on the police headquarters in Abuja which was to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability,” a statement from the group read.
Official police report has indicated that six people were killed in the attack, 33 cars had been damaged beyond repair and 40 more had been partially damaged by the explosion.
Boko Haram accuses Nigeria’s government of being corrupted by Western education, ideas and science and wants to overthrow the state and impose Islamic law on the country. The group’s extremist ideology and uncompromisingly homicidal methods place it beyond the range of reason and dialogue, analysts have argued.
But whilst the group has killed dozens of police officers, politicians and civilians including Christian preachers and clerics from other Muslim groups, Thursday’s attack is reported to be its first suicide-bomb attack.
“A bold and deliberate statement on their part to announce that they have come to stay,” Nigeria’s Sunday Trust cites criminologist and security consultant Innocent Chukwuma as saying.
Local experts have suggested that Boko Haram is likely to seek maximal yield targets with potentially high casualties; sensational bombings and high profile assassinations.
In a message addressed to journalists last week, and reported by local media, the terror group claimed that some of its members had been trained in Somalia and warned that “very soon ” they “will wage Jihad on the enemies of God and His Prophet”.
Like the national police headquarters, the group’s targets are likely to include sites of symbolic national value.
Salem Consulting Group’s Chris Ngwodo, based on a recently released Nigeria Education Data Survey which stated that 83 percent of children aged 5-16 in the northeast (Boko Haram territory) cannot read at all and that the region accounts for the country’s highest level of innumeracy at 73 percent, argues that until the sordid material conditions that gestate violence are seriously addressed there will be yet more homicidal zealots dominating the news headlines.
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.