News / Africa

    Nigerians Welcome and Fear Emergency Rule in North

     A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013. A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013.
    x
     A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013.
    A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013.
    Heather Murdock
    The day after Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan declared emergency rule in some of the country’s most volatile regions, some locals have high hopes the move will end the nearly four-year-old Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed lives. Others are wary, however, saying brute force could potentially escalate the violence.
     
    The Nigerian capital, Abuja, is located in the center of the country, and the people who live there are from every corner of Nigeria. They are from the mostly-Christian south, and from the mostly-Muslim north - the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency.    

    At one fruit stand, the seller chops pineapples while other men stand around chatting. When asked what they think about President Jonathan’s announcement that emergency rule is to be imposed on three northern states, men that support the idea are eager to speak out.
     
    Lionel Osuagwu, a real estate broker, said he is proud of his president for taking a stand against Boko Haram.  
     
    “I think it’s a welcome development because we cannot sit down and watch people being wasted like animals. It’s not fair,” said Osuagwu.

    Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram
     
    2009
    July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
     
    2010
    December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
     
    2011
    June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
    August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
    November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
    December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
     
    2012
    January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano up to 200
    February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
    June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
    July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
     
    2013
    February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
    April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
    May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
    July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
    August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
    September - Gunmen kill 40 students at a post-secondary school in Yobe
    December - Militants attack military installations in Maiduguri

    2014
    January - Militants kill 74 people and burn down a village in attacks in Borno and Adamawa
    February - Gunmen kill as many as 60 in attack on school in Yobe
    April - Militants abduct 276 schoolgirls
    Clamping down

    Timothy Pam, a businessman who deals with farming equipment, is from Plateau State, in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” where sectarian violence has killed an estimated 14,000 people since 1999. He said in 2008 the government declared emergency rule in his home city of Jos, ending a wave of violence that left more than 700 people dead.
     
    “The movement was very restricted. Like from 6 [a.m] to 6 [p.m], that’s when you were allowed to move. After that time if you are caught outside they will deal with seriously. So emergency is a welcoming development to everything that is a problem of that nature. Emergency should be implemented immediately so that lives will not be wasted as such,” he said.

    Others around the fruit stand are less forthcoming, saying they are skeptical that emergency rule will improve the situation, but they don’t want to speak publicly for security reasons.  
     
    One man suggested that military rule could help, if soldiers stick to arresting suspects rather than shooting them.

    Violence concerns

    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both have accused Nigerian government security forces of escalating violence through extra-judicial killings and unlawful detentions. The Nigerian government denies these charges.
     
    Under a nearby awning, where religious books are sold, another man said he is disappointed that the government is beefing up security measures before even finishing their investigation into the possibility of peace talks.  
     
    In his speech Tuesday, Jonathan said efforts to negotiate with Boko Haram will continue, but followed the statement by promising to “hunt them down.”
     
    On the other side of town, in a quiet compound outside the business district, Kabir Mato, the director of the University of Abuja Institute for Anti-Corruption Studies, said that neither beefed up military nor negotiations will create a lasting peace in northern Nigeria, the heart of the insurgency.
     
    Addressing overty, joblessness

    He said the real cause of unrest is not Islamist extremism, as often is said, with Boko Haram being compared to the Taliban. He said the problem there is extreme poverty, unemployment and many young people with no opportunities and very little to do.
     
    “You cannot wipe out these insurgencies, especially in the extreme northern part of Nigeria in the next two, three or four years," said Mato. "They can only be wiped out through long-term investment on social service. You must educate young people. In Borno State and Yobe State as I speak to you today, more than 70 percent of young people that are supposed to go to school are out of school, primary school and secondary school. Seventy percent!”

    Jonathan’s announcement comes after Boko Haram-related violence has claimed more than 250 lives in the past month. Analysts say the group's attacks and equipment have grown increasingly sophisticated.
     
    Mato said without economic and social development in the north, however, that if one group of discontented youth is crushed, another will just take its place. He added that when security forces use heavy-handed tactics - like burning the homes of suspected criminals - groups like Boko Haram have more unhappy young people to recruit.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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