News / Africa

Nigeria Launches 'Soft Approach' to Counter Boko Haram

People look at the damage on March 2, 2014, after two explosions struck Nigeria's restless northeastern city of Maiduguri, a stronghold of Boko Haram Islamists.
People look at the damage on March 2, 2014, after two explosions struck Nigeria's restless northeastern city of Maiduguri, a stronghold of Boko Haram Islamists.
Heather Murdock
Nigeria's national security adviser has unveiled plans for a new non-military strategy to combat a four-and-half year old Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people.  The strategy would complement, not replace, military efforts to fight radical sect Boko Haram.  

About 10 months ago Nigeria launched its biggest military push ever against Boko Haram insurgents, imposing emergency rule on three northeastern states. Many urban centers were quickly secured, but the violence continued in the countryside.  More recently, northern cities have again come under attack.  Human Rights Watch says 700 people have been killed this year alone.

Amid the growing violence, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki says the government will take a “soft approach” to counter terrorism, in addition to military efforts.

“My approach has been to understand the problem in order to apply the appropriate solutions. What we have learned is that there is not one particular path that leads to terrorism.  Rather, there are many, often complicated, paths that lead to terrorism.”

Poverty, social injustice, isolation and sectarianism are among the causes of insurgency, he says. And prison reform, economic development, peace talks and educating the public are among the solutions.

Under the plan, two prisons will become “de-radicalization” facilities.  The next step, Dasuki says, is to train the staff.

“The initiative will require substantial capacity building of prison staff in areas such as psychology, sport and art therapy, faith-based instructors and vocational training experts that would engage beneficiaries.”

Another key tenet of the “soft approach” to counter terrorism, he says, is economic reform in northeastern Nigeria, where most people live in abject poverty, fueling the insurgency.
But the insurgency also makes the region poor, adds Gbenro Olajuyigbe, a human security manager at anti-poverty organization ActionAid.  The soft approach, he adds, needs to follow better security on the ground.

“If people are in insecure environment -- economics has collapsed, rights have collapsed, there is an intrusion of fear -- I think the best thing to do is to stabilize the country first.”

The United Nations calls the Boko Haram insurgency “increasingly monstrous,” saying nearly half a million people have fled their homes, and tens of thousands have fled to neighboring countries. Farmers have also abandoned their fields, threatening food security in many areas.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ofugocho from: Benue
March 20, 2014 2:45 AM
I think it is a very good idea, since uses of firearms by Nigeria army to control the insurgency is also affecting people's living. It is not perfect if securing of lives and property as claimed by security forces becomes threat to defenceless innocent citizen. Therefore, all we need is any measure that could be used without causing more harm to this innocent citizen to end the insurgency. The idea is welcome.


by: Ofugocho from: Benue
March 20, 2014 2:45 AM
I think it is a very good idea, since uses of firearms by Nigeria army to control the insurgency is also affecting people's living. It is not perfect if securing of lives and property as claimed by security forces becomes threat to defenceless innocent citizen. Therefore, all we need is any measure that could be used without causing more harm to this innocent citizen to end the insurgency. The idea is welcome.


by: Never ask from: Zaria
March 18, 2014 5:32 PM
Nigeria army is gallant for every,is al abt northen polician, it is them dat boko cum 4rm in order spoid anoda peson govern, so it is dem dat cn stop dis.


by: uzoma from: lagos
March 18, 2014 5:18 PM
the idea of soft approach is not the best option. we need to go back to our identity and core values. boko haram should be stopped for now. let the big men who know them advice them better. African core values of sanctity of life, fear of God and consequences of human killings should be taught our people. this will check the menace and nothing more. thank you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid