News / Africa

    Nigeria Restructures Security Services to Combat Terror Attacks

    Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan (center right) fields questions from journalists as he leaves U.N. headquarters, where a day earlier a suicide bomber crashed through an exit gate and detonated a car full of explosives, in Abuja, Nigeria, August 2011
    Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan (center right) fields questions from journalists as he leaves U.N. headquarters, where a day earlier a suicide bomber crashed through an exit gate and detonated a car full of explosives, in Abuja, Nigeria, August 2011

    Nigeria is restructuring security services to better combat a series of terrorist attacks. There is growing concern that the violence is not limited to any one group.

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says violence in the capital and across northern states is not exclusively the work of Islamic fundamentalists from a group known as Boko Haram.

    That group claimed responsibility for last month's bombing of United Nations headquarters in Abuja, which killed 23 people. President Jonathan said, though, he believes there are other “unpatriotic elements” at work as well, and vows there will be “no sacred cows” in the drive to expose them, no matter where they are hiding.


    Beyond Boko Haram

    Retired Lieutenant General Jeremiah Useni heads a prominent group of religious and political leaders in northern Nigeria, under the Arewa Consultative Forum. He said the military's inability to contain the threat reveals a security challenge deeper than Boko Haram alone.

    "Every time an incident occurs, we will be told there is a warning to security or there was a warning somewhere, and security was aware of it. And yet the thing still happened. Which means that either security does not believe the sources of this information or there is laxity somewhere,” said Useni.

    Speculation about who might be hiding behind this violence includes al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists from the Sahel, political opponents of President Jonathan and even members of Nigeria's military, who may want to discredit civilian rule.

    Culture of terror


    Abubakar Umar Kari, who lectures in sociology at the University of Abuja, said, "Unfortunately, the Boko Haram has virtually become a metaphor for terrorism and violence in Nigeria. Any attack, any serious breach of security or peace is easily ascribed to Boko Haram."

    Kari said the do-or-die nature of Nigerian politics breeds extremism.

    "The politics of Nigeria has become such a very serious affair," he said. "Contestation of power within the Nigerian ruling elite [is such] that one cannot rule out the possibility that a section of the elite who feel shortchanged or out of the saddle would try to sponsor the kind of terror that we are now saying is the work of Boko Haram. But some of these attacks are clearly not the handiwork of Boko Haram."

    Dissatisfaction with status quo

    Human rights activist Shehu Sani writes extensively on Boko Haram. He said amnesty for militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta opened the way for armed insurgents across the north.

    "This use of money to appease people who pick up arms made it very easy for other people to say, 'For me to be listened to, I [must] also pick up arms.'"

    He said other groups are tapping into the popular dissatisfaction that has fueled Boko Haram's recruiting.

    "Even though people in the north are not outwardly in support of [Boko Haram], people [inwardly, privately] see them as a response to the years of plunder and exploitation to which the political leadership of Nigeria has subjected its people,” said Sani.

    Jonathan said he is changing the architecture of security services to improve intelligence gathering. He also said the government is making better use of surveillance by civilians to punish those who would terrorize Nigerians.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora