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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More