News / Africa

    Nigeria’s Igbo Tribal Elders Call for Evacuation Due to Violence

    An unidentified woman walks past the ruins of a market outside the state police headquarters in Kano, Nigeria. Police said that members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram dressed in uniforms resembling those of soldiers and police officers when they
    An unidentified woman walks past the ruins of a market outside the state police headquarters in Kano, Nigeria. Police said that members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram dressed in uniforms resembling those of soldiers and police officers when they
    Jane Labous

    Nigeria’s Igbo tribes are staging a mass evacuation of women and children from the north due to violence blamed on the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram. 

    Nigeria’s eastern Igbo leaders are calling for tribal families living in the north to immediately return home so avoid being killed or injured.

    At a series of meetings this weekend in Enugu State, tribal elders asked women and children living in the north to travel south to minimize their risk, while the men stay to look after their businesses.

    The Igbo community is setting up shelters in the southeast to house the evacuees returning from the north.

    Igbo leaders expressed their concern and anger at the spate of killings by the Boko Haram sect and the government’s inability to neutralize the group.

    This follows the latest deadly blow from Boko Haram, which staged a series of coordinated attacks, mostly on police stations and government buildings, in the northern city of Kano on January 20th that killed nearly 200 people.  A separate Christmas day bombing of a church near Abuja killed more than 30.  The attacks have sparked fears of a religious war in Nigeria.

    Uche Okafor - a trader from the east - agrees with the decision by some Igbo leaders.  “The elders are calling on our fellow brothers - the women and children should come home, and let the men stand and defend their own properties.  Let the women come home to preserve the families.  To preserve the community; if not they will lose everything.  This is necessary because the Igbo nations have suffered a lot and we should not have to suffer like this,” he said.

    But not everyone agrees.  Some state governors, politicians and others in the southeast have criticized the evacuation call as unnecessary.

    Ijelle Anthony Chigbo is a stakeholder of the Igbo nation and the chief executive of an Abuja company.  Speaking to VOA, Chigbo says the Igbo people should stay and do business as normal.

    “Those people who made that call do not represent the leadership of the Igbo people.  That call is not a legitimate call. … Some people have tried to whip up sentiment but I believe what is happening is not a religious war but more of a political protest from the way we look at it.  The government is doing everything to address the issue,” Chigbo stated.

    Ben Chuks is a political stakeholder in Igbo land from Anambra State.  He believes every citizen of Nigeria should be well protected.  “I think every citizen of Nigeria should be protected wherever he finds himself within the confines of the 36 states of Nigeria.  Irrespective of whether you are Igbo or Hausa or Yoruba or any other ethnic group for that matter, he said. "The security system in the country is huge and meant to protect everybody.”

    Chuks adds that he is concerned that Nigerians are becoming a fragmented people.

    Nigeria’s 160 million people are evenly divided between a mostly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

    Boko Haram is based in the north but details about the group's structure, membership, and true aims remain open to question.  What seems clear is that the group is fighting for establishment of an independent, Sharia-led nation in northern Nigeria.  The militants recognize neither the federal constitution nor the authority of President Goodluck Jonathan.

    Boko Haram first came to international attention with an uprising against the government in 2009.  It gained renewed attention last year with an attack on a U.N. building in Abuja in August.  

    Some experts suggest Boko Haram is just another manifestation of public anger at government corruption and poverty in the face of massive oil wealth and a security apparatus which functions with impunity.

    Despite the devastating attacks on Nigeria’s police and security personnel in Kano, the government - under heavy criticism for being ineffective - is sticking to its policy of treating Boko Haram as a strictly security threat.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora