News

    Nigerian Minister Mildly Critical of US Terror Warning

    A body is seen at the site of a bomb explosion at a road in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 8, 2012.
    A body is seen at the site of a bomb explosion at a road in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 8, 2012.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    James Butty

    Nigeria’s information minister, Labaran Maku, said his country’s security forces have made enormous progress in combating the threat posed by the Islamist Boko Haram sect, particularly in the federal capital, Abuja.

    The minister’s comments followed a warning Wednesday by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that Boko Haram may be planning attacks against hotels and other areas in Abuja, frequently used by Westerners.

    Maku said, while Nigeria respects the opinion of the United States, it also believes that making such public pronouncements about terror threats has a tendency to cause panic in the population.

    “You remember about a year ago, they issued a similar warning to Americans in Nigeria, and what we told them at that time was that, yes, we know we have security challenges, but we didn’t think that the best approach is always to issue public statements that sometimes end up causing a lot of public panic,” he said.

    Maku described the United States as a close ally and a friend of Nigeria. He said the Nigerian government appreciates the support it has received from Washington in its time of challenges and good times.

    He also appealed for more cooperation between Nigeria and the United States in the fight against Boko Haram.

    “We believe the best approach would be for the American mission in Nigeria, the American government, to collaborate with our agencies and share information,” he said.

    Maku said quiet cooperation and sharing information often yields more positive results than occasional public statements, which he said hardly help the situation.

    He rejected criticism by some who say the Nigerian government has not done enough to end the Boko Haram threat.

    “The question of terror, as you do know, from the United States, to Afghanistan, to Algeria, to Yemen, is that because this isn’t the standing army we’re following, it is not a war in which you can set a date, but definitely the idea is to continue to struggle to minimize and to prevent until it is reduced to its barest minimum, which is what the Nigeria government had been doing,” Maku said.

    He blamed what he called the “onlooker media” for giving Boko Haram prominence.

    “What every terror group seeks to do is to create fear and public panic, to create disaffection, and terror has used the media so excellently since 9/11 [September 11, 2001] that today, it has grown from an operation of a few people into an international network because the media has handled it, especially [the] international media,” Maku said.

    Some analysts have suggested that poverty in northern Nigeria was responsible for pushing young people there toward terrorism and Boko Haram.

    Maku said Nigeria realizes it has development challenges in the north and other parts of the country.  But, he said the government has put in place programs, including recently a public works program, to employ young people.

    However, Maku said terrorism cannot be blamed on poverty alone.

    “If you study the social background of those who carried out 9/11 [terror attacks in the United States], you will know that they are not poor people. So, yes, it’s true that poverty generates an environment for crime generally, but it alone does not explain crime.  I think there are other issues that we must look at,” Maku said.

    Maku said what is needed is mutual cooperation to create the kind of environment where terrorism can be defeated.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora