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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs