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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.