News / Africa

    Nigeria Moving to Confront Boko Haram Terrorism

    A Nigerian soldier secures the area at the United Nation's office following a suicide car bomb attack in Abuja, Nigeria, Aug. 27, 2011. (file photo)
    A Nigerian soldier secures the area at the United Nation's office following a suicide car bomb attack in Abuja, Nigeria, Aug. 27, 2011. (file photo)

    Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan says the military is moving to fight and defeat what he calls the evil of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram.  The sect is being blamed for more than 100 deaths across the northern states of the country this month. A presidential committee named to open talks with the group says there should be less confrontation and more dialogue.

    President Jonathan says Boko Haram attacks are a “temporary setback” testing the nation's character and should deter neither Nigerians nor foreign investors.

    "Anybody who does not want to come and invest in Nigeria now because of this instance of Boko Haram will really regret it," he said.

    The president told foreign investors in Abuja that he is initiating a "rapid and robust" military response to combat the Boko Haram threat.

    "Let me reassure Nigerians and indeed the world in general that even with the limited technology we have, the Nigerian security services are doing fairly well," he said.

    Nigeria's military says Boko Haram carried out coordinated attacks on police stations, churches, and an army base in small towns across the north earlier this month.  The group claims responsibility for bombing United Nations headquarters in Abuja in August.

    The militants say they are fighting for the creation of a Sharia-led nation in the north, and do not recognize the authority of Nigeria's constitution or President Jonathan.

    A special security fund for joint military task forces to put down the violence moves the government away from the recommendations of a committee the president established to consider opening talks with Boko Haram.

    Borno State Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume was on that committee. He says the problem can not be solved militarily.

    "As far as the use of force is now going, it is just like guesswork.  You don't even know who is your enemy.  So you don't know who you are even attacking.  So the military is just, they thought that the presence of the military can bring law and order.  But it has not succeeded," he said.

    Ndume says the violence will continue as long as Boko Haram feels it is not being heard.

    "Dialogue in this case is very necessary, especially when you are dealing with a group that you can not easily identify.  So first we say there should be the initiation of dialogue.  First to identify the leadership of that group.  Two, to know what they want and then see if there is possibility of negotiation because we know historically that insurgencies can not be solved by force.  It can only be solved by dialogue," he said.

    Ndume says part of addressing the Boko Haram threat is addressing the underlying social weaknesses of poverty and unemployment that have fueled its growth.  Photographer John Oku says there are longstanding grievances.

    "The government should look into the remote cause of the problem rather than the proximate cause because the group actually did not start today.  The agitation has been there all along, just like the Niger Delta.  They have been there protesting, agitating.  The government will not do anything about it until they took to violence," he said.

    President Jonathan says there are no "sacred cows" in the drive to expose those behind Boko Haram, no matter how highly-placed those sponsors might be.  Economist Prince Ohini believes the group's backers include northern politicians opposed to Nigeria's southern president.

    "This group we are talking about is masterminded by political powers, those who are in power. They sponsored these children, gave them guns to fight for their political interests," said Ohini.

    Unlike the fighting over resources in the oil-rich Niger Delta, businessman Andrew Adebisi says most Nigerians do not understand what Boko Haram wants.

    "Boko themselves, I think, they are not sincere," he said. "They should come out and tell us what their fight is.  When the people in the Niger Delta fought, we knew what they were fighting for, and we understood their plight.  But for Boko Haram, we don't understand their plight."

    Senator Ndume says that makes it all the more important to open talks with the group because he believes Nigerians will not support a sustained military operation unless they believe the government has exhausted all other efforts to resolve the conflict.

    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.
    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.
    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.