News / Africa

Nigeria Group Meets Thursday Over States of Emergency

Nigerian soldiers are seen on the outskirts of Maiduguri in the north-eastern state of Borno in this May 13, 2013, file photo.
Nigerian soldiers are seen on the outskirts of Maiduguri in the north-eastern state of Borno in this May 13, 2013, file photo.
Peter Clottey
The Nigeria’s Northern Elders Forum (NEF) plans to meet Thursday to review a strategy toward the state of emergency recently declared in three northern states by President Goodluck Jonathan.

President Jonathan recently declared states of emergency in three northern states following an upsurge in violence carried out by the militant sect, Boko Haram.

Forum spokesman Ango Abdullahi says the government did not consult the northern elders before declaring the states of emergency, despite seeking the group’s help to resolve the country’s internal security crisis.

“The proclamation of the state of emergency came to us as a surprise because of the way it came about soon after a change of policy and strategy, which incorporated dialogue and reconciliation,” said Abdullahi. “We thought the proclamation was ill-advised and ill-timed because if really the government was serious about reconciliation and dialogue he won’t declare war on his on people.”

The elders have condemned the states of emergency as a declaration of war with residents of the country’s north. The government denies the accusation.

“There is no reason why President Jonathan will declare war on any part of this country,” said Doyin Okupe, senior adviser to President Jonathan. “If there is anything that has been declared, it is a war against the insurgents, the rebels and the terrorists that have engaged in mindless killings of Nigerians, bombings of religious places of worship and institutions and killings of security agents.”

Abdullahi says the elders will also meet with the forum’s legal team, which has been gathering evidence about the recent killing of civilians at Baga.

“They are working hard to ensure that our facts, evidence and so on, are sufficient on ground for us to be able to bring those that have been responsible for human rights violations, including criminal activities over this period,” said Abdullahi.

The NEF wants to file a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after accusing Nigeria’s government of human rights abuses.

Abdullahi says the government is to blame for the growing security crisis in parts of the country.

“I don’t think anybody can convince me that Boko Haram has killed more people than the Nigeria military and the police as at this point in time. Yes, the government is mandated to protect life and property, but in doing so the government must not be seen to be the one that is killing more people than the insurgents that they are trying to attack,” said Abdullahi.
Some human rights groups have accused the military of using excessive force. Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram-related violence has killed an estimated 3,000 people since 2009, a toll that includes killings by security forces. 

The government has denied security agents are to blame for the security crisis.
Clottey interview with Prof. Ango Abdullahi, spokesman for NEF
Clottey interview with Prof. Ango Abdullahi, spokesman for NEFi
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Richard Bagudu
May 30, 2013 7:33 PM
Boko Haram has murdered more than 3,000 Nigerians since 2009. They bomb churches, police stations, market and recreational places. They slaughter innocent Nigerians, young and old, male and female in cold blood. This group of clowns that describe itself as Northern Elders Forum looked on, made no meaningful efforts to stop this madness; and possibly encouraged the pogrom with their ignoble silence. The criminals declared war on Nigeria since 3 years now. The Forum had all this time to reign on the misguided children, brothers and followers of its members who have turned monsters thereby avoiding this belated state of emergency, but they chose to do nothing. Now, they complain about the state of emergency. Who do they think they are fooling?
However, I agree with the Forum on one point, namely: that the Federal Government has been too slow and indecisive in handling these terrorists and rebels. I refuse to believe that there are no intelligence implicating or linking some highly placed Nigerians with the criminal activities of Boko Haram. To believe that is to write-off the security agencies as good-for-nothing. I would hesitate to do so.
The state of emergency should have been declared years ago. And if you ask me, it should have been total, suspending the powers and functions of the so-called elected political office holders of the States affected because they have proved incapable of governing their own States and ensuring the safety of their own people. Did I hear you say that is the responsibility of the Federal Government? The Federal Government should do whatever it takes, within the limit of the law, to ensure the safety of Nigerians not only in the three States that have been made ungovernable by these terrorists, but in the country as a whole.

by: Nwabuisi ifeanyi from: awka
May 30, 2013 12:38 PM
Please help me to extend my message to this so called Nigeria’s Northern Elders Forum (NEF), that they are fool and have nothing to offer, that the worst to happen is separation wish i personally will be glad to witness

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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs