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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid