News / Africa

    Hundreds Flee as Violence Rages on in Northern Nigeria

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Douglas Mpuga

    There are reports of a gun battle between unknown assailants and police in the town of Potiskum in northeastern Nigeria. The fighting is reportedly around a police station and other sections of the town in Yobe State, with unconfirmed reports of casualties.

    Potiskum is among 15 regions in northern Nigeria where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency last week after days of deadly violence.

    Saturday's outburst follows two days of attacks when gunmen killed at least 20 people in northeastern Nigeria.

    “There has been consistent gun battles between the law enforcement agencies and the [militant Islamic] Boko Haram sect somewhere in Potiskum,” said Dr. Kabir Mato, a professor of political science at the University of Abuja.

    “From the information we have, the battle has been raging for some hours now,” he said.

    Mato noted that the declaration of the state of emergency may not solve the problem in northeastern Nigeria. “I think there is a serious misconception of the very magnitude of this crisis by the highest security/political echelons in this country.”

    If the declaration of emergency means enforcing security measures, he said, “then the developments in Potiskum, Yobe State, and some other parts of the country” show that the move is not serving its purpose.

    Mato said neither the security agencies nor the state in Abuja understand the nature of the crisis, which he noted is concentrated in the northeastern part of the country and not all of northern Nigeria. “The fundamental issue is the misplacement of priorities on the part of the security agencies and the national political leadership.”

    He attributed the cause of the violence to socio-economic issues and the hopelessness felt by large numbers of youths.

    Nigeria, he said, is a country bedeviled by tremendous economic hardships, illiteracy, backwardness, want and apathy, and a population growing at an alarming rate. “The entire social infrastructure such as roads, schools, electricity has been in decline for a very long time.”

    As a result, he added, “a lot of young people have not found purpose in existence.”

    Rampant corruption, Mato added, has resulted in the inability of the state to properly invest public wealth in infrastructure that will make life, and economic activity, easier. As a result, the public becomes disenchanted and withdraws support from the government.

    “If a frantic social effort is not put [in place] in terms of more progressive social policies that will address the concerns of the youth, the crisis will remain.”

    Mato said “basically the issue has more to do with the basic economic structure of society. I don’t see it as religious. In my view, it’s economic.”

    By Saturday hundreds of people were reportedly fleeing areas of north-eastern Nigeria, after a wave of violence apparently targeting Christian communities.

    At least 29 people have been killed in four attacks in the state of Adamawa on Friday night and Saturday morning.

    The Islamist Boko Haram group has claimed responsibility.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

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

    By the Numbers

    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