News / Africa

In Nigeria, a Political War Behind the War on Boko Haram

FILE - Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader Boko Haram, is seen in a video screen grab, at an unknown location, Sept. 25, 2013.
FILE - Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader Boko Haram, is seen in a video screen grab, at an unknown location, Sept. 25, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Politicians worldwide often vilify their opponents, and those in Nigeria are no different. As the 2015 elections approach, Nigeria’s two main political parties are blaming each other for the violent Boko Haram insurgency in the north.

In the past five years Boko Haram militants have killed thousands of people, and the insurgency appears only to be growing as 2015 elections draw near.

More than 2,000 people have been killed this year alone in attacks on markets, military bases, bus stations and even football viewing centers. In April, the Islamist radical group kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls.

At his home in the Niger Delta, Ovie Joseph, a local leader within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) says the opposition funds the violence, trying to make the country “ungovernable.”

“When problems of kidnapping ... occur, it’s a style of destabilizing the ruling party," he said. "It’s the opposition [doing this].”

The opposition he speaks of is the All Progressive Congress, or APC, a mega-party formed last year when several opposition parties merged.

Joseph says Boko Haram’s increasing strength is evidence that wealthy politicians must be supporting the group.

Analysts say if the party can stand behind a single candidate next year, it could prove to be a formidable opponent to the PDP, which has governed Nigeria since 1999.  

Christian Onodjacha, assistant secretary of APC in Delta State, blames the ruling party for failing to stop the insurgency.

“What they are now trying to do is to trade the blame on us, that we are involved," he said. "But we are not involved. We are not in charge of the federal security apparatus. They are in charge.”

The ruling party, Onodjacha says, is wasting time “pointing fingers” when it should be fighting the insurgency. He concedes that individual politicians may be involved, but he thinks they are from the ruling party.

“Our members are clean," he said. "They are people that we know can salvage this nation from the quagmire that it is in currently.”

But some analysts say that, on this issue, both parties are correct and both are wrong.

Yan St-Pierre, the CEO of Berlin-based security consulting firm MOSECON, says Nigerian politicians often hire thugs to intimidate their opposition.

“Both sides use them," he said. "Depending on how greedy or ambitious the local politician was, they would sometimes use more of their services, sometimes less, but both sides. All parties are involved.”

St-Pierre says the politicians may not be interested in Boko Haram’s goals, but in northeastern Nigeria the Boko Haram members happen to be the guys with the guns.

The group is believed to be controlling villages along the Chad and Cameroon borders, he says, and in those areas even conducting an election will require support from Boko Haram.

“They intimidate, they terrorize and, when possible, they actually provide goods and services which gives them the legitimacy, that sometimes despite everything they’re doing, that the government doesn’t seem to have,” St-Pierre said.

Boko Haram's name means “Western education is sinful” and the group has threatened President Goodluck Jonathan by name. However, St-Pierre says while Boko Haram may be partially supported by a corrupt political system, the insurgents probably do not care who wins. 

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sampson Atsu from: Accra
June 28, 2014 10:59 AM
Nadeco and opc helped Obj to power,the niger delta militants helped Gj to power. Now it seems some people are employing the same tactics in the power shift syndrom. If Jonathan steps down the bakassi boys will rise up for an igbo president employing the same tactics. Buhari is seriously against govt action on bh. Why,is it cos.................?


by: josh from: maidugiri
June 21, 2014 12:57 PM
the best way to combat book haram in this country is to hold those top officials exterminate them so that we have peace.


by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - Nigeria
June 20, 2014 10:07 PM
Former president buhari made it claer that he will make nigeria ungovernable for president Jonathan if he loss the presidential election. And he did it. When boko haram started, nigeria police arrested and detained some of them wihile some dead. Human right and opposition were blaming the police why should they be detained more 48 hours and why some are killed. They caused the dismissal of those officers for the good work they have done and today nobody talks about those policemen and look at what boko haram is causing. Lamentation, tears , destruction, killing in thousands but nobody asked what of those officers dismissed because of islamist terrorists. And someone. Is saying Jonathan should not contest so that peace will reign because of hausas. If Jonathan is not contesting so that hausa take back the sit, within a week nobody will hear about this terrorists. Let be watching.


by: meanbill from: USA
June 20, 2014 5:49 PM
CRAZY isn't it? -- Shouting Allahu Akbar, "God is Great" the Muslims kill the Christians and Jews like Muhammad did, when he spread his Muslim religion by the sword.....

In Response

by: AHMED from: INDIA
June 21, 2014 12:54 AM
PROPHET MUHAMMED SALLAM WAS THE VICTIM OF VIOLENCE AND HE TOOK SWORD ONLY TO DEFEND AND HE MADE SO MANY TREATIES WHICH THE HISTORY IS HIDING . HE WAS A PEACE LOVING AND SINCE YOU DONOT KNOW THE REAL HISTORY AND YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT ONLY AGAINST ISLAM SO YOU PEOPLE SPEAK ONLY AGAINST HIM AND ISLAM .MUSLIMS ARE FIGHTING IN THEIR HOME TOWN ONLY TO LIBERATE THEIR LAND.


by: Nwanguma Emmanuel O. from: Nsukka, Enugu state
June 20, 2014 4:16 PM
Take it or you leave it, the most peaceful way of solving this problem of insecurity in Nigeria is for the president to abstain from any near-presidential election activity including declaration of such interest, please, just for the interest of the poor and helpless Nigerians. We are tired of constant government's void strategies to combat Boko Haram, please, enough of the experiment.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 21, 2014 3:00 PM
Shut up, Emmanuel, if you don't know what to say. Nigerian is beyond begging anyone to do what is right. It is not to ask Jonathan not to run if he wants to be president again. What we are asking him to do is to be proactive and stop being reactionary where this trouble is concerned. He is too dull for a president, and he has no brain at all when it comes to ruling a vast nation like Nigeria. He should not step down because of boko haram - it is every Nigerian's right to vie for that post - but he should sit up and be president if he wants to rule again, face boko haram squarely and defeat the sharia incursion. It is the failure of the sharia states to achieve the fulani dominance over the country that gave birth to boko haram. If Jonathan can neutralize the sharia states - it's his business how he wants to do it - then he can rule the country. No one should run away because of boko haram or the scheming of the islamists. God forbid!


by: Nwanguma Emmanuel O. from: Nsukka, Enugu state
June 20, 2014 3:55 PM
With referrence to St. Pierre content, it is not even certain that Nigerian government does not need the assistance of Boko Haram to conduct free and fair elections in all the states of Nigeria considering the growing security concerns and increasing rumours of its expansion outside northern states.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid