News / Africa

In Nigeria, World Cup Excitement Tempered With Fear

A policeman stands near damaged vehicles after a suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of popular bars and restaurants in Sabon Gari, Kano, May 19, 2014.
A policeman stands near damaged vehicles after a suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of popular bars and restaurants in Sabon Gari, Kano, May 19, 2014.
Heather Murdock
As the World Cup in Brazil approaches, Nigerians are looking forward to watching their team compete for the fifth time in the country’s history. Recent attacks on football "viewing centers" have cast a shadow on the event, however, and many fans in Nigeria say for this World Cup, they will stay home.

In February 2013, members of Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, literally jumped up and down with glee and kissed the golden medals hanging around their necks. They had just won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years.
 
In homes, restaurants, bars and viewing centers across Nigeria that night, the country celebrated.

Deadly attack

Africa’s most populous nation will take another shot next week at football fame at the World Cup. But in northern Nigeria, the excitement has been met with gloom after an attack at a local match early this week killed at least 40 people.
 
Two weeks before, an attack on a viewing center was thwarted -- but three people, including the bomber, were killed.  
 
Across Nigeria, crowds regularly gather at viewing centers to watch matches. Fans pay between 10 cents and 30 cents for entry. In a country where most people live in abject poverty, football is a needed distraction, according to Paul Orude, a fan in the northern state of Bauchi.
 
“I prefer watching it in the viewing center because it’s more fun there, but now I don’t think I will be doing that again,” he said.

In April, two people were killed when another viewing center was attacked in Yobe State, one of three Nigerian states that have been under emergency rule for more than a year.
 
No one has claimed responsibility for the football attacks, but insurgents known as Boko Haram are widely blamed, having killed thousands of people under the guise of rejecting all things Western.
 
In recent months, the violence has gotten worse, with near daily attacks in the north. And despite assistance from the international community, Boko Haram has held more than 200 schoolgirls captive for nearly two months.

Sparse viewing centers

Mohammad Nasser owns a viewing center in northern Nigeria. He said beyond disappointing fans, growing fear is harming his business.
 
“The people that we were expecting to come here to watch football, honestly now they are not coming, honestly, because of this problem," he said. "We are trying to do everything that is enforceable to tackle this problem.”
 
Nasser said customers are searched upon entry, and bags and vehicles are not allowed near the viewing center. Strangers are discouraged from attending matches.  
 
Police in northern Nigeria also say they will beef up security during the World Cup by deploying more men and by setting up a hotline for the public to report suspicious activity.
 
Bauchi State Police Spokesman, Haruna Mohammad, said, “We also educate members of the public to be security conscious to themselves, their environment, both physical and social, especially in shopping malls, the view centers, market places, recreation centers, hotels, parks, etc.”

Boko Haram says it wants to install Islamic law in northern Nigeria, and ban Western education. Analysts say the haphazard nature of the attacks and constantly shifting tactics, though, indicate that while the group may be powerful, it also is fractured and without any clear goals beyond violence.

Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi State, Nigeria.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid