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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.