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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid