News / Africa

    Nigeria Election Refugees Face New Ballot Without Homes

    Nigeria Election Refugees Face New Ballot Without Homesi
    X
    February 19, 2014 11:49 AM
    Three years after post-election violence killed nearly 1,000 people in the Nigerian city of Kaduna, some families that fled the fighting are still living in makeshift camps. As Heather Murdock reports for VOA, local leaders fear, without a fundamental shift in the way Nigeria does politics, violence could break out in Kaduna again when the country holds elections next year.
    Heather Murdock
    Three years ago, post-election violence in the Nigerian city of Kaduna left nearly 1,000 people dead and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. As the city prepares for elections next year, there are concerns a renewal of violence and homelessness could devastate the city unless there is a fundamental shift in the way Nigerians do politics.
     
    Uba Sani used to be a salesman in southern Kaduna. When Nigeria's presidential elections turned violent in 2011, he and tens of thousands of others fled their homes.

    Now Sani lives in a camp in the north side of Kaduna with hundreds of others who are still displaced. He said there is not much left to go home to.

    "All our properties are burnt and all our vehicles are burnt.  And they killed our people there," he said. "Almost getting to 1,000 people are dead under that crisis."
     
    But Sani said he would leave this place and rebuild his home if he had the money, and if Nigerian security forces could provide security for what is left of his family. "I lost my one son in the crisis and I lost my five junior brothers in the crisis," added Sani.
     
    But religious leaders said unless something changes about Nigerian politics, elections in cities like Kaduna, where the mostly Muslim north meets the mostly Christian south, will continue to be dangerous.

    At a garden in Kaduna, Pastor Yohanna Buru from the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, says politicians create the sharp divide between Christians and Muslims by tying competitions for power and resources to Nigerians' deep religious beliefs.

    People will do anything, he said, if they believe it to be the right thing by their faith.

    "That is why most politicians are political geniuses in Nigeria.  They use religion most to get what they want," said Buru.
     
    The foundation's other leader, Imam Sani Isa, said despite a relative peace, and attempts at reconciliation over the past few years, Nigeria's upcoming 2015 presidential elections are already polarizing the people.

    "I am deeply concerned and I am afraid.  I entertain fears.  Why?  Because I can see some people - some politicians and some electorates who cast their vote - I can see them starting to bring their religion into it," Isa said.

    • Three years after the last elections, some Nigerians who fled their homes because of the violence still live like refugees, in makeshift camps, hoping that someone will provide resources for them to rebuild or relocate, Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb 14, 2014.
    • Civilian security groups technically don’t carry arms, but they can often be seen with clubs, sticks poked with nails or other weapons, Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
    • Volunteers say they hope the Nigerian national elections in 2015 will be less violent through their efforts. Nearly 1,000 people died in Kaduna after the 2011 elections, Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
    • A former soldier trains dozens of volunteer civilian security guards in Kaduna, Nigeria ahead of the 2015 presidential elections, Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
    • Pastor Yohanna Buru of the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria works with Muslim leaders to try to reconcile decades-old differences between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria’s ‘Middle Belt,’ Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
    • Imam Sani Isa of the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria says politicians in Nigeria use religion to polarize the public on other economic and social issues, Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
    • Across Nigeria, thousands of men and women volunteer to be ‘vigilantes,’ patrolling neighborhoods to provide information to security forces,Kaduna, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2014. (Heather Murdock/VOA)

    Kaduna officials said they hope to avert a security crisis next year by strengthening security and prosecuting anyone guilty of election violence.  But the international rights group Human Rights Watch said thousands of people have been killed in sectarian violence since 2010 and almost no one has been held responsible.

    Civilian security groups, including dozens of uniformed trainees, said the only way to make Kaduna safe is to stop crimes before they happen.  
     
    Retired Navy Captain Ab Umar, one of the leaders of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, said his group is increasing patrols and gathering information to share with security forces.

    "We gather local intelligence reports and we stop the crime at the planning stage, before the crime starts," he said.
        
    Violence might be averted in 2015 because people in Kaduna have physically separated themselves - much like the rest of the country - with Christians in the south, and Muslims in the north.  
     
    At the displacement camp, Sani said there remain only a few hundred of the people who fled his neighborhood three years ago.  But for them, he said, even entirely peaceful elections will not be much comfort without a home.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora