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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More