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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid