News / Africa

    Nigerian President Faces Security Challenges in New Term

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state, April 16, 2011
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state, April 16, 2011

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he is determined to improve security in his country with a new administration that takes power with Sunday's inauguration.

    Security was a driving issue in the presidential campaign following bomb blasts by militants from the oil-rich Niger Delta and attacks on police by members of an extremist Islamic group in the north.

    President Jonathan campaigned hard to convince Nigerians that his government was meeting those security challenges. But rioting that immediately followed his election raised anew questions about security preparedness. The New York-based rights organization Human Rights Watch says Muslim-Christian electoral violence in northern states killed at least 800 people.

    President Jonathan says he is determined to protect Nigerians wherever they live.

    “As president, it is my solemn duty to defend the constitution of this country. That includes the obligation to protect the lives and properties of every Nigerian wherever they choose to live,” he said.

    Delta State University political science lecturer Benjamin Agah says part of the problem is that suspects arrested after attacks are often released without prosecution, returning to the streets for the next round of violence.

    “The same people who ought to be found guilty, who ought to be jailed or who ought to be punished, they are the same people who will still come out again, untouched by the law. So the president has a lot of security challenges,” he said.

    Agah says the new government must be willing to better equip security forces, especially in remote areas of the north.

    “There are some places now that can not be policed ordinarily except through air. So the police should be fully equipped. They should be given the requisite necessities to enable them to fight these criminals,” he said.

    Public affairs analyst Kole Shetimma says insecurity is a problem for the president that runs far deeper than spending more money on police.

    “In these security challenges, I think that we should not approach it from a law-and-order perspective. I think we have to look at the socio-economic and political conditions that have given way to some of these major problems,” said Shetimma.

    In the Niger Delta, for example, President Jonathan helped organize an amnesty for militants fighting against a federal government that they say has failed to develop the oil-rich region. There have been delays in paying monthly stipends to those demobilized combatants and far fewer job-training programs than were promised.

    Shetimma says the president must address the underlying economic grievances in the Delta.

    “How do we ensure that the communities in which this oil is produced have access to some of the oil resources that we have. The new petroleum bill, which gives like ten percent of the oil resources to the communities, I agree that that should be fast-tracked,” said Shetimma.

    In the north, the extremist Boko Haram group is fighting to establish Islamic law and says it recognizes neither the Nigerian constitution nor the just-completed election. It is rejecting an amnesty offer from the governor-elect of Borno State, who is trying to end months of attacks  against security forces.

    Shetimma says one of the obstacles is the government's refusal to recognize that security forces acted outside the law last year in killing Boko Haram members in Jos.

    “It has to be on how do you respond to the loss of property? How do you respond to the security implications? So I am hoping that this is going to be a comprehensive approach to the issue of Boko Haram,” said Shetimma.

    President Jonathan says part of his plans for improving security in the north and in the south is to increase employment for young men who he says are being used as “cannon fodder for the ambitions of a few.”



    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora