March 23, 2012: Boko Haram is a serious problem for the Nigerian government because the national police are incompetent and the military, which is somewhat more competent, is not trained or equipped for police work. Thus defeating a better organized and motivated organization of religious zealots will be very difficult and time consuming. The prospect of Boko Haram establishing a religious dictatorship is not popular with most Nigerians. Even many Moslems (who are about half the population) oppose this. All the Christians are opposed to Islamic rule (and forced conversion). But it's difficult to get behind the government, which is corrupt, inept and dominated by liars, thieves, and people pretending to be virtuous. The best most Nigerians can hope for is the elimination of Boko Haram without too much collateral damage. The police and soldiers tend to shoot randomly and loot at every opportunity, so collateral damage is certain. In addition, local self-defense forces will increasingly go after Boko Haram and anyone else they don't like. Hard times are coming.
To no one's surprise, the large quantities of money the government has appropriated recently to provide security in the face of Boko Haram violence has led to more corruption. A lot of this money is not creating a lot of additional security but is promoting more opportunities to steal. Many security programs are announced but never happen.
March 21, 2012: Outside the northern city of Kano, Boko Haram gunmen attacked a bank and police station with bombs. The bank was destroyed but the money was not taken. The assault on the police did not work out well, and the police counter-attack left nine Boko Haram suspects dead and two captured. Earlier in the day gunmen, believed to be Boko Haram, shot dead three people.
An al Qaeda spokesman in Mauritania announced that his group had a German man who was kidnapped in Nigeria two months ago and were holding him for ransom (cash and the release of al Qaeda men held in Germany). Most likely, criminals kidnapped the man and then sold him to al Qaeda (which was safer, if less lucrative, than trying to get a ransom themselves).
March 18, 2012: Boko Haram announced that it would halt peace talks with the government. Boko Haram is demanding the release of many imprisoned Boko Haram members before any real negotiations begin. Boko Haram is on a mission from God, to impose a religious dictatorship over all of Nigeria and convert, expel, or kill all non-Moslems. All this makes negotiations difficult.
March 17, 2012: In the north (Kaduna State) dozens of Boko Haram gunmen attacked three villages and killed ten Christians, including a cleric. The Boko Haram then attacked a police station, causing some casualties.