News / Africa

Security Fears Rise as Nigerians Celebrate Eid al-Adha

Muslims pray outside a school during celebrations marking Eid al-Adha in Lagos October 15, 2013.
Muslims pray outside a school during celebrations marking Eid al-Adha in Lagos October 15, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Nigerian Muslims and Christians in the city of Kaduna traditionally celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Muslim sacrifice holiday, together.  But after four years of insurgency and sectarian violence, some locals say holidays are not safe and have chosen to remain in their religiously segregated neighborhoods.

At a concert, hundreds of people, Muslims and Christians, relax under canopies, celebrating Eid al-Adha in Kaduna, a Nigerian city known for insecurity and sectarian violence.

Heavily armed police officers and soldiers surround the event.

Eid al-Adha is a national holiday in Nigeria so even non-Muslims generally do not work. And while many celebrate the day publicly, others say holidays in Kaduna have become a time of fear, after bomb blasts on Christmas, Easter and Eid al-Adha in recent years.

Walter Uba is a Nigerian journalist and the father of six. Outside the press club in Kaduna, he says the entire police force is on patrol for the holiday, but that may not be enough.

“The full security is not that fully guaranteed because anybody can breach security at any time, at any place,” says Uba.

He adds that he sent his children to the capital, Abuja, for the festival and told them not to attend any public celebrations.

“These are the spots where they want to come and kill and maim children, even plus the parents so I am not thinking of that. In short, as far as any celebration is concerned in this country rule me out until when that full security in Nigeria comes back to what it used to be. But, as of now, no,” says Uba.

Insurgents known as Boko Haram have killed thousands of people in the past four years. Three northeastern states are now under emergency rule as Nigeria’s military battles the group.

Kaduna State is in an area known as Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” that lies between the mostly-Muslim north and the mostly-Christian south. The state capital, Kaduna city, is divided much like the country with Muslims in the north, and Christians in the south.

Long history of violence

Outbreaks of sectarian violence have plagued the city for decades and are often sparked by insurgent attacks and elections. Human Rights Watch says more than 800 people were killed after the 2011 elections and many locals say they expect the upcoming 2015 elections to be just as violent.

Godwin Tewase Kuba owns a small shop and is the father of two. As he heads to the market to buy groceries, he says Kaduna residents are increasingly taking responsibility for their own security.

“Everybody has become a neighborhood watch. Everybody has started observing who comes into the community. How strange is the person? How unfamiliar is the person?”

In central Kaduna at night, residents set up blocks on nearly every road and check cars as they come and go, armed with sticks, knives and sometimes even guns.

But at the concert, Sani Ibrahim, an artist, says heavy security - both professional and civilian - in Kaduna is not a sign that the city is more dangerous, but a sign that it is more safe.

“It’s peace now. Now in Kaduna we are in peace with Muslims and Christians we are together now,” says Ibrahim.

Sectarian violence in Kaduna is often along religious lines but analysts say the real divides are economic in their origins and related as much to ethnicity as religion.

And as Ibrahim enjoys the Eid al-Adha festival in Kaduna, he says while some locals are staying home for safety, at the public gathering he is attending he is happy to see members of ethnicities from every corner of Nigeria.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Patrick from: CT USA
October 15, 2013 4:25 PM
atrocities against christians should get world wide attention

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid