News / Africa

Nigerians Fear, Welcome US Naming Boko Haram as Terrorists

Newspapers are displayed at a vendor's stand along a road in Obalende district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, July 30, 2013.
Newspapers are displayed at a vendor's stand along a road in Obalende district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, July 30, 2013.
Heather Murdock
The United States has designated Nigeria's Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru terrorist organizations, and in Nigeria many people think the label will pressure the government to end the security crisis.  But in the shadowy circles of militant groups, the label may also make the groups more famous, and some Nigerians fear that will further damage their country.

Nigerian authorities have been calling Boko Haram a terrorist organization for years as relentless militant attacks have killed thousands of people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Modakai Ibrahim is a local politician in the northern city of Kaduna, where church bombs sparked sectarian violence that killed a hundred people last year. 

“They have not spared anybody.  They destroy the church.  Before we are thinking that their target was only Christians.  But now they have now come to show us that they do not want peace.  They do not want to live in harmony.  They attack pastors.  They attack Imams.  We have had imams slaughtered.  We have had people bombed in the mosque,” said Ibrahim.

For Nigerians, the U.S. decision means their country is now the home of two internationally recognized terrorist organizations, and some Nigerians said the U.S. move could do more harm than good.

Dauda Yakubu is the secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna.  He said he feared the label would damage the reputation of the country and scare away developers.

“I believe any state or any country or any nation that is involved in terrorist issues has no development and there will never be peace in that country,” he said.

Abdullahi al-Hassan, a university student in Kaduna, said it would also make it harder for ordinary Nigerians to travel out.  He said international airport authorities would fear any Nigerian could be a terrorist.

“There are also citizens that are not happy to fly into other countries because they will [be] looking [for] terrorists, despite that they are not," he said.

Others said the label, which obligates the United States to freeze any financial dealings with Boko Haram and Ansaru that it can, would not really change anything in Nigeria.

Retired journalist Garba Iliasu in the northern city of Bauchi said the United States should have labeled the group as terrorists four years ago, when the insurgency began.

“We were expecting that if there is sincerity on the part of the United States about its so-called ‘war on terror,’ America should have reacted the way it is doing now,” he said.

Some analysts said the Boko Haram insurgency, which has kept three northern states under emergency rule for six months, was too large to fight without international support.  On the other hand, security experts waredn the label could give the group more prestige among Islamist militants, and potentially draw support.

Far to the south of Nigeria, where the group has never operated, Edward Oforomeh is a lawyer in the Niger Delta.  He said besides the carnage up north, the entire national economy was reeling as food prices soar with fewer northern meat and vegetable imports.  U.S. involvement, he said, could potentially be a good thing.

“They have recognized the Boko Haram as their enemy, so they will not wait until they come and do a serious havoc on them before they go after them,” he said.

But Oforomeh also said Nigerians should be “wary” of American involvement, pointing out that Nigeria does not want to suffer the fate of Pakistan, with the United States fighting militants from other countries on their soil.

(Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi; Ibrahim Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna; Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.)

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid